10 new albums ranked from best to worst

Let’s face it: There’s only so many times that you can play Mariah Carey’s “All I Want You for Christmas Is You” on repeat. Thankfully, there are plenty of other tinsel tunes in this season’s crop of Christmas albums, with everyone from Rob Thomas and Kristin Chenoweth to Kelly Clarkson and Norah Jones getting in the spirit.

Here, we rank 10 new holidays LPs, from worst to best.

10. Steve Perry, “The Season”

Respect to Perry, who, to us, will forever and always be the lead singer of Journey — no matter how many years it’s been since he left the band. But he doesn’t exactly have you believin’ in the season by going full lounge lizard on holiday standards such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” And at 72, he’s clearly lost some of the vocal power that made him one of the great rock voices back in the day.

Darren Criss’ “A Very Darren Crissmas”

9. Darren Criss, “A Very Darren Crissmas”

With a last name tailor-made for Christmas punnery, the former “Glee” star was destined to make a holiday album. But while he does a passable Michael Bublé imitation here, it’s hard to forgive him for turning Joni Mitchell’s “River” into a big-band bop.

The cover of Rob Thomas' "Something About Christmas Time"
Rob Thomas’ “Something About Christmas Time”

8. Rob Thomas, “Something About Christmas Time”

The Matchbox Twenty frontman favors less-covered holiday fare (Bryan Adams’ “Christmas Time”) and originals (“Small Town Christmas”) on this 10-song set. But while Thomas gets bonus points for giving the Big Apple love on “A New York Christmas ’21,” he should have sprinkled some more traditional tunes in the mix.

The cover of Pentatonix's "Evergreen"
Pentatonix’s “Evergreen”

7. Pentatonix, “Evergreen”

By now, it’s not Christmas without a new Pentatonix holiday album. And while there’s nothing new from the a cappella quintet a year after 2020’s “We Need a Little Christmas,” there’s no point reinventing the wheel when this seasonal machine is running so smoothy.

6. Kristin Chenoweth, “Happiness is … Christmas!”

The “Wicked” star brings plenty of show-tune spirit to this collection, whether she’s bluesy with Keb’ Mo’ on “Merry Christmas Baby” or brassy on a medley of “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man with a Bag” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”

The cover of Kristin Chenoweth's new album "Happiness Is...Christmas"
Kristin Chenoweth brings “Happiness” to the Christmas season on her new LP.

5. Various artists, “Christmas with Motown”

This cross-generational compilation features some classic Motown acts who you can never get enough of — including the Supremes (“Silver Bells”), the Jackson 5 (“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”) and Stevie Wonder (“What Christmas Means to Me”) — alongside new soul stars such as Tiana Major9 (“Silent Night”). It’s a can’t-miss mix.

4. Kelly Clarkson, “When Christmas Comes Around…”

The days of Clarkson scoring big pop hits such as “Since U Been Gone” may be long over, but the “Voice” coach and talk-show host can still belt with the best of ’em. Her second holiday album (after 2013’s “Wrapped in Red”) features shiny originals —  including “Christmas Isn’t Canceled” and the Ariana Grande duet “Santa, Can’t You Hear Me” — as well as familiar faves such as a jazzed-up “Last Christmas.”

3. Nat King Cole, “A Sentimental Christmas with Nat ‘King’ Cole and Friends: Cole Classics Reimagined”

Just like another iconic crooner, Bing Crosby, Cole is synonymous with Christmas. This collection reworks some of his classic Christmas recordings while blending in some non-holiday standards such as “The Very Thought of You.” Among the guests sitting in with the late legend are Johnny Mathis, Gloria Estefan and John Legend, who helps Cole roast those chestnuts on “The Christmas Song.”

2. Pistol Annies, “Hell of a Holiday”

Miranda Lambert’s trio — rounded out by Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley — ditches the usual schmaltz for plenty of sass on tracks such as “Harlan County Coal” and “Happy Birthday” (as in “Happy Birthday, Jesus”). But their country charms extend to “If We Make It Through December,” a Merle Haggard cover that is a bit more melancholy than merry.

The cover of Norah Jones' "I Dream of Christmas"
Norah Jones’ “I Dream of Christmas”

1. Norah Jones, “I Dream of Christmas”

It doesn’t get much better than Jones tinkling the ivories to the Peanuts classic “Christmas Time Is Here” as her voice oozes smoky warmth. There are more jazzy vibes throughout this intimate affair, from the original “Christmas Glow” to the classic “White Christmas.” And Jones ends the LP with a sultry sendoff on “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” 


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