‘Twas the night before Christmas … for that last minute giftSection 4A, Entertainment News, Entertainment Feature Thursday, December 24th, 2015
Need that last minute gift or a final stocking stuffer. Well, nothing like a CD or two to do the trick! Michael Siler and Paul Alley pick out four CDs that would more than easily qualify. And if you have done all your Christmas shopping you might just want to treat yourself to these delightful sounds in the New Year! Happy Holidays and enjoy.
Kylie Minogue’s Kylie Christmas (Parlophone)
REVIEW BY MICHAEL SILER
Kylie Minogue (known for “The Locomotion” and “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”) is back with her first-ever holiday CD Kylie Christmas (deluxe version).
The song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (featuring Frank Sinatra), is a track Cyndi Lauper unsuccessfully tried years ago on her own Christmas CD. Unfortunately, Lauper and Sinatra’s voices were very mismatched and they didn’t complement each other. However, Kylie’s version with Frank Sinatra is very well done, upbeat and their voices blend together beautifully and are a highlight on this CD!
Kylie cleverly does an updated version of a 1980s new wave classic called “Christmas Wrapping”. She interestingly adds Iggy Pop to join her on this pop gem.
Another surprise is a version of the 1982 Yaz song “Only You” which features James Corden with Kylie. This isn’t a Christmas song at all, but with the lush orchestration and choral backgrounds this song works with the rest of the CD. This is possibly the best song of the entire album.
Other classic songs on the CD include “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Let It Snow.”
She purrs on “Santa Baby.” The sexiest version I’ve ever heard. Kylie does her own breathy and wonderful ballad of the Judy Garland classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Kylie includes half a dozen original holiday tunes to round out this CD. Of the original songs, the best one is called “100 Degrees”; a high energy dance floor stomper with her little sister Dannii Minogue. It is the first single from Kylie Christmas and it is climbing the charts!
There is not a bad track on this festive and creative CD collection.
Buy Kylie Christmas CD for yourself and then also stuff it in all of your friend’s stockings!
RuPaul’s Slay Belles (RuCo)
REVIEW BY MICHAEL SILER
Finally RuPaul has recorded a new Christmas CD! It’s been nearly 20 years since he debuted his 1996 holiday CD.
This time out Ru decided to record all original material for Slay Belles. The CD opens with the upbeat high energy gay anthem, “Merry Christmas, Mary.” Proclaiming, “We will be loud and proud! Rejoice!”
On the song, “Christmas is All About Love,” Ru croons “Love yourself! Love is so much better when you give it away!”
RuPaul has a duet with his Drag Race co-host Michelle Visage on “From Your Heart”; with his message, “Presents don’t come in a box, but it does come from your heart.”
If rap is your thing, then “Jingle Dem Bells” featuring Big Freedia and Ellis Miah is for you.
“Deck the Halls,” featuring Todrick Hall, is all about decking the halls and celebrating with your family during Christmas.
In yet another duet, RuPaul recruited the talents of Siedah Garrett on “Brand New Year.” This festive track encourages listeners to “make a brand new day with a new year to make a change in your life.”
In addition to the new original songs, RuPaul has included several comical verbal interludes between songs that make you feel like you are a fly on the wall eavesdropping at RuPaul’s Christmas party!
A Great Big World’s When the Morning Comes (Epic)
REVIEW BY PAUL ALLEY
Grammy winning duo A Great Big World (“Say Something” with Christina Aguilera) releases their pop-perfect second album with a score of compositions that will bring a chill to your spine.
The first single, “We Hold Each Other featuring Futuristic,” features the lyrics “Something happens when I hold him/He keeps my heart from getting broken” sung by Chad King, who is gay. “I had a moment of doubt, because you don’t hear that in pop music,” King said. “It was a little uncomfortable for me, even as someone who is gay, because you’re just not used to hearing that in a pop song.”
The album opener, “All I Want Is Love” may at first sound like a pleasant and uplifting track, but scratch a little beneath the surface and you find a man questioning the whole prospect of love entirely. But it’s with “Oasis” that we discover what true companionship means with “When we can’t fight another fight/We’re gonna make it, You’re my OASIS.”
While, “When the Morning Comes” may not have the obvious pop of “Say Something”, it delivers with an excellent sound spectrum. Think a bit of fun, a bit of OneRepublic and a bit of Erasure. This is an album of witty, smart love songs that feel real.
Adele’s 25 (XL)
REVIEW BY PAUL ALLEY
After breaking NSync’s record by selling a stunning 3.38 million copies in the first week, Adele’s 25 has set the path for exceeding the success of her sophomore 2011 release, 21.
Adele does not disappoint when it comes to tear-jerking heartbreak on 25. While “Hello” has already seen a satire skit by Saturday Night Live, it is rest of the album that delivers some of the best wallops. A kiss-off tune flies in the face on “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).” But she recoils with a seductive soothing choir-sound on “I Miss You”.
Easily one of the highlights comes with “When We Were Young”. A song about crossing paths today with that lover from your past and the beauty of love for the young is never enough.
Adele described, “My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself.” You can hear her come to terms with the state of defeat on “Love in the Dark.” While on “Million Years Ago,” she becomes a bit more playful in the acoustic rendering of a story that travels through emotional states to a peaking moment when she realizes just how far away that time she was in now actually is.
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