Album Review: Norah Jones – I Dream of Christmas

Original Christmas songs and albums are becoming harder to find, with so many artists finding the opportunity to sing classics too hard to resist. Who can blame them, after all, since these holiday songs are etched on our collective memories. Last year Pistol Annies released an album of mainly originals but that is rare.

Norah Jones’s ‘I Dream of Christmas’ was actually released last year, although I didn’t have a chance to listen to it then, so I was glad to see this deluxe re-release came just in time when I was looking for a new Christmas album to review. The edition includes six original songs written by Norah, alongside seasonal favourites sung in her classic jazz inspired sound.

Continue reading “Album Review: Norah Jones – I Dream of Christmas”

Album Review: Pistol Annies – Hell of a Holiday

For me the best Christmas music contains truths about the emotional complexity of the season: from the drunken conflict of Fairytale of New York to the aching sadness of River by Joni Mitchell. Too many recent Christmas albums seem content with cliched offerings or weak cover versions of classics designed to capitalise on the streaming algorithm, rather than having anything meaningful to say about the season.

Luckily for us then our resident reality check heroines Pistol Annies are here to offer us something fresh with their brilliant new Christmas album Hell of a Holiday. We last found Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe on the Interstate Gospel, searching for comfort in Jesus and dealing with heartbreak, inertia and family trouble. Christmas then, being the time of year where women and relationships are stretched to the limit, is a natural fit for their songwriting skills. Continue reading “Album Review: Pistol Annies – Hell of a Holiday”

Album Review: Gwen Stefani – You Make It Feel Like Christmas

We all need a little bit of festive cheer to get us through the rest of 2017, a year that somehow managed to even surpass the hell that was 2016. Every year I enjoy those few weeks in December when I can listen to any old cheesy Christmas song on repeat. I was looking for a new Christmas album to review this year and stumbled onto Gwen Stefani’s Christmas special on TV the other day and it had enough sparkle to cheer up any Scrooge. The accompanying album You Make it Feel Like Christmas is a flourish of festive fun from start to finish. Continue reading “Album Review: Gwen Stefani – You Make It Feel Like Christmas”

Should We Still Listen to Phil Spector’s Christmas Album?

The unmasking of many powerful men in Hollywood as abusers and serial sexual harassers has been a long time coming. The music industry too has been rife with troubling behaviour for decades, from Ike Turner to Michael Jackson to Kesha’s recent case against Dr Luke. This year has proved what women have known all along: the voices of victims must be heard and respected no matter who is being accused. Continue reading “Should We Still Listen to Phil Spector’s Christmas Album?”

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