| Posted by My Super Nanny
It's that time of year again when our ears are subject to gentle, harmonic sleigh bell harmonies.
Some of us love it, some of us loathe it.
Whatever your jingle bell preference, we've added the top 4 albums as tried and tested by the Rolling Stones Magazine. Thus we feel these recommendations are coming from relatively good authority - as far as Christmas album recommendations come.
Sufjan Stevens, 'Songs for Christmas' (2006)
You gotta a love song called "Come On, Let's Boogie to the Elf Dance." Or perhaps, you want to bury it neck-deep in the snow out behind the house where Santa's reindeer take their traditional Christmas Eve pee break. Either way, the Brooklyn indie-pop songster's five-EP set is one of the more imaginative revisionist Christmas records. His takes on the classics are pretty and lovably dog-eared (see his banjo-fied "Amazing Grace") and his originals add wrinkles to the canon. ("It's Christmas Let's Be Glad" is a wry, shambling toast: "Let's be glad/Even if the year's been bad/There are presents to be had/A promotion for your dad.") As sad elves go, Suffy's all heart.
Bob Dylan, 'Christmas in the Heart' (2009)
Christmas in the Heart is a great title for this utterly unexpected, weirdly inspired album – because with Dylan on the mic, it certainly isn't Christmas in the voice. In fact, his grizzled baritone is exactly what gives his 34th record a subversive charm: No music worships good singing like Christmas music, and by doing a carol like "The First Noel" or a post-War pop tune like "Christmas Island" straight and earnest, he makes you hear them with new ears. With help from musicians like Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and guitarist Phil Upchurch, he sings with real nostalgia as well as tender frailty, honoring this as vintage American music and making it part of his own story.
Frank Sinatra, 'A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra' (1957)
Released in 1957, the same year as Elvis Presley's hit Christmas album, Sinatra's first Christmas record is like a conservative op-ed in response to the King's subtly radical bumrush. It's the essence of Eisenhower's America, bottled and giftwrapped with a red and white bow on top. This was the fourth album Sinatra recorded in a very good year, and he sings like he has the universe effortlessly balanced on the brim of his hat. At times the arrangements and back-up singing get in the way. But when he taps the nostalgic tug of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," it's mistletoe magic.
Cee Lo, 'Cee Lo's Magic Moment' (2012)
The Voice has made Cee Lo Green America's favorite smiling funk mystic, so this lovable record is a no-brainer. He turns in one of the more stylistically ecumenical Christmas discs out there. Christina Aguilera swings by for a jazzy "Baby, It's Cold Outside," where Cee Lo injects the line "Baby, it's bad out there/ No cab's to be had out there" with a sly tinge of urban realism; "All I Need Is Love," with the Muppets, interpolates the Sesame Street classic "Manamana" into a hip-hop-soul jam; and Cee Lo locks in with Rod Stewart and New Orleans hornman Trombone Shorty for a super smooth "Merry, Christmas Baby." Cee Lo's solo takes effortlessly bridge the sacred ("Mary, Did You Know?") and secular (his richly oversung, deeply felt version of Joni Mitchell's "River"). A boomin' belly isn't the only thing he shares with Santa; dude's got something for everyone.
Ho ho ho!