50 New Christmas Albums, Reviewed 50 New Christmas Albums, Reviewed

Rolling Stone – More than 600 holiday songs came out in 2018: Here’s a guide to the good covers, the bad art and the utterly unlistenable

Update: Since publishing our list of 40 new Christmas albums the holiday music machine churned out a few more 2018 notables for a new total of 50 albums. (Honestly, how could we leave off a new version of “Back Door Santa”?) Enjoy these new, last-minute recommendations for your holiday playlist.

It’s that time of year again where we put aside our differences and agree that there are too many new Christmas albums. The yearly jingle bell-bottleneck is a modern pop music phenomenon. Whether artists are propelled by morality, money or Mariah Carey, we just want to know: is anything in the 2018 slush pile worthy of the Christmas canon? Rolling Stone enlisted comedian, actor and Secular Xmas enthusiast Connor Ratliff to find out. He furnished an exhaustive — yet merry! – holiday guide after listening to more than 50 new Christmas albums (that’s over 600 songs) taking into consideration album art, originality and deducting for title-track overuse. Let’s begin.

Editor’s Note: This list does not include one-off Christmas singles or spur-of-the-moment covers, apologies to Katy Perry, Queens of the Stone Age and time-traveling Elton John.

12 – Gwen Stefani: ‘You Make It Feel Like Christmas’

COVER:  This is a deluxe reissue from last year.  The 2017 version featured mistletoe draped across Gwen Stefani’s face, but this year it is gone, replaced by a big red bow on her forehead while she touches her face and smiles.  Both covers are good, but I would argue the new one is an improvement since mistletoe is a problematic holiday tradition, implying consent just by standing under a plant that you might not even know is there.  Or maybe you do know, but are unaware that it’s mistletoe!  Not everyone is a botanist!

LISTENING: Blaring horns open the album and I am sold.  I already like Stefani’s music, and I trust her taste – I know before I scan through this that I am gonna like these choices & arrangements, and a quick listen confirms it.  Plus, it is basically 50/50 originals & standards, (and two of the five bonus tracks) so this is no quick cash grab nostalgia thing.

VERDICT: “My Gift Is You” should be better-known and “Cheer For The Elves” is a pro-labor anthem that is long-overdue in an age when automation is a threat to workers in every sector.

COVER:  This is a deluxe reissue from last year.  The 2017 version featured mistletoe draped across Gwen Stefani’s face, but this year it is gone, replaced by a big red bow on her forehead while she touches her face and smiles.  Both covers are good, but I would argue the new one is an improvement since mistletoe is a problematic holiday tradition, implying consent just by standing under a plant that you might not even know is there.  Or maybe you do know, but are unaware that it’s mistletoe!  Not everyone is a botanist!

LISTENING: Blaring horns open the album and I am sold.  I already like Stefani’s music, and I trust her taste – I know before I scan through this that I am gonna like these choices & arrangements, and a quick listen confirms it.  Plus, it is basically 50/50 originals & standards, (and two of the five bonus tracks) so this is no quick cash grab nostalgia thing.

VERDICT: “My Gift Is You” should be better-known and “Cheer For The Elves” is a pro-labor anthem that is long-overdue in an age when automation is a threat to workers in every sector.


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