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Highlights: Santa Claus in Coming To Town, What Child is This, Jingle Bells, I Believe
As far as Christmas albums go, people do not tend to expect much. The track list consists of songs we have already heard before, and probably by a couple of dozen of other singers. However, My Christmas is worth a punt. The album's producer, David Foster, is predictably on form, and despite it being a Christmas album by a classical tenor, there is nothing stiff or boring about this CD. In fact, it may bring about those long lost memories of your younger days when Christmas was simply all about fun - Andrea Bocelli lets himself go and clearly enjoys performing all of these well known standards as well as meeting the conservative expectations to sing the traditional carols.
There are a fair amount of duets to propel Bocelli along - Mary J. Blige is just one of the surprise performers on the album, combining soul and glamour to 'What Child is This'. Katherine Jenkins makes an appearance at the finale, performing the Eric Levi piece, 'I Believe' which also features on her album Believe (also produced by Foster). Perhaps it's a cliché to have Nat King Cole's daughter, Natalie Cole perform 'The Christmas Song' but the balance of the predictable is tipped to the opposite end of the scale as Bocelli duets with The Muppets on the well known tune 'Jingle Bells'; unfortunately the recorded version is not as funny as the performance you'll see at the bottom of this review as it cuts out what would have been the welcome dialogue but it still demonstrates Bocelli's festive humour. This also shines through in 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' where he is joined by a chorus of children and in 'O Tannaenbaum' ('O Christmas Tree' in English).
This is not to say that Bocelli abandons the "calm" factor - all the festive favourites such as 'Silent Night', 'Cantique De Noel' ('The First Noel' in English), 'Angels We Have Heard On High', 'The Lords Prayer' and 'White Christmas' are all here to soothe you. There are also different offerings on here to other seasonal albums as Bocelli treats us to the sound of his homeland in the Italian traditional carol 'Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle'. He has also lent his vocals to Hollywood, singing for yet another version of Charles Dickens's tale A Christmas Carol in 'God Bless Us Everyone'. In typical Disney fashion it finishes up in a truly forte fashion with its choir, crescendos and Bocelli belting out as much as he can muster.
My Christmas offers a range of material to please almost everyone and with that in mind, it's probably the best commercial holiday release this year, but it does fail to come up with anything new and does nothing to advance Christmas music which has long been stagnated. Anyone who is anyone is likely to enjoy this album, but Hayley Westenra's more thoughtful and original Winter Magic steals the Christmas crown of 2009.
1. White Christmas/Bianco Natale
2. Angels We Have Heard On High
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. The Christmas Song (ft. Natalie Cole)
5. The Lord's Prayer (ft. Mormon Tabernacle Choir)
6. What Child is This (ft. Mary Blige)
7. Adeste Fideles
8. O Tannaenbaum
9. Jingle Bells (ft. The Muppets)
10. Silent Night
11. Blue Christmas
12. Cantique De Noel
13. Caro Gesu' Bambino
14. Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle
15. God Bless Everyone
16. I Believe (ft. Katherine Jenkins)