With finals upon us, you may not have fully realized that the holidays are in fact here. In many ways, this time of year can be quite unpredictable. Will we have a white Christmas? What gifts will we receive? Will Grandma get drunk and pass out on the dinner table again?
If there’s one thing we can expect every year, however, it’s that a handful of artists will release new holiday albums. Most of them come across as the lazy ploys for a quick buck that they are. But some, like Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas (1994), are truly great and will be appreciated for years and years.
This year, a handful of artists released new holiday albums, and we’ve sussed out which are good, which are bad, and which are just heinous. Check out our ranking.
Blake Shelton’s Cheers, it’s Christmas.
Blake Shelton is having a great year. It’s his first full year of marriage to the beautiful Miranda Lambert, he’s arguably become the most likable judge on The Voice, and he swept at the CMAs, even snagging the coveted Entertainer of the Year trophy from the likes of Taylor Swift. On top of it all, he recently released Cheers, it’s Christmas, a lovely, genuine-feeling holiday album. Even if you’re not into country music, Shelton’s hearty voice and sexy swagger are sure to win you over on this album.
Key Track: “Jingle Bell Rock” featuring Miranda Lambert (awww!)
Cee Lo Green’s CeeLo’s Magic Moment
Shelton’s The Voice counterpart Cee Lo Green also released a holiday album this year — and it’s pretty good! As opposed to Shelton, who takes the classic approach, Cee Lo opts to be a bit more eccentric. For instance, on “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Cee Lo tells an abridged version of the legendary tale as the a cappella group Straight No Chaser coos in the background. And on “All I Need Is Love,” Cee Lo jams out with none other than The Muppets. Overall, if you’re looking to boogie this holiday season, Cee Lo’s your man.
Key Track: “What Christmas Means To Me”
If you thought Glee couldn’t get any more washed up, you were wrong. The show recently released its third volume of holiday songs, and it’s predictable and mediocre. Santana will put you to sleep on “Silent Night,” Jake and Puck will physically hurt your ears on “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,” and Kurt will make you wonder how it’s possible that he’s still on a singing show on “White Christmas.” Unique’s “Joy To The World” is pretty solid, though.
Key Track: “Joy To The World”
Lady Antebellum’s On This Winter’s Night
It’s a quarter after 1 am, and I’m actually pretty sober, yet I’m still falling asleep to Lady Antebellum’s new holiday album — and not in a cuddled up by the fireplace type of way, but rather like straining to stay awake but nodding off in a boring lecture. On This Winter’s Night isn’t offensively bad by any means, but it lacks spirit, which is essential for any Christmas album. However, the album’s one original song, the title track, is pretty catchy — in a melancholy sort of way.
Key Track: “On This Winter’s Night”
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John’s This Christmas
This Christmas might be the biggest holiday abomination since Lady Gaga released “Christmas Tree” in 2009. Olivia Newton-John holds her own throughout the album, but John Travolta really brings the whole thing down. He can no longer sing, so instead, he awkwardly chants throughout the album. It’s especially notable on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” in which the duo switches the standard gender roles, likely so Newton-John can do the heavy lifting. Also, good luck getting through their headache-inducing original song, “I Think You Might Like It,” which has a pretty hilarious new music video too. This album may have been a good idea in the early ’80s, but it certainly isn’t one now.
Key Track: “I Think You Might Like It”
Happy holidays, y’all!