Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

There are without doubt, some truly bizarre Christmas albums out there - however we sifted through those to find some of the very best Christmas albums out there that deserve the spotlight.

By Eimear O SullivanMusicngear Editor

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

Stevie Wonder - Someday At Christmas

Finding out that Stevie Wonder had a full length Christmas album was nothing short of  a joy - and it does not disappoint. Released in 1967 by Motown records, and produced by Henry Cosby ( The Supremes, The Temptations and a regular collaborator with Stevie) Someday at Christmas consists of a mixture of covers and completely original Christmas songs.

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

It opens on Someday at Christmas (an original Christmas song) which upon listening induces a rush of nostalgia (even if it is your first time hearing it) - glockenspiels are sprinkled throughout the first verse, before dissolving fully into a warm bed of strings in the second half. 

 Covers throughout the album include Silver Bells, Ave Maria and The Little Drummer Boy - however most of the tracks are originals. The opening of ‘The Day that Love Began’ sounds like it would accompany a snow covered opening scene to a classic Hollywood Christmas movie. Well worth a listen.

 

Ariana Grande - Christmas Kisses

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

Divine. 

Sugary, sweet R&b and Soul - featuring two original songs and two covers ( Last Christmas and Santa Baby featuring Liz Gillies) Christmas Kisses was Ariana’s first christmas EP released in 2013 and was produced by The Rascals, Kenneth Edmonds and Antonio Dixon. Last Christmas is given a delightfully soulful treatment, before diving into a hip-hop beat with Christmas instrumentation. Snow in California is a smooth, seductive Rhodes and soulful Guitar affair over which Grande’s luxurious vocals flow.

Her other Christmas album Christmas and Chill is also worth checking out. 

 

Jojo - December Baby

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

Never before have I heard a Christmas album with such range. Released on October 30th of this year - it showcases Jojo’s talents to the max; whilst introducing some new sides of her. Produced BLVK. - a Lofi producer ( J Cole, Sampha) and JordanXL (Shawn Mendes, Ayo &Teo) all of these forces combine to create a thoroughly unique and highly creative take on the concept of a Christmas album.

We open with Noelle featuring Jacob Collier - filled with harmonies that sound like a full choir.  Next is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in which the Lofi production influence becomes evident; warm Rhodes; a sickly smooth RnB beat; trap hi-hats mixed with Jojo’s layered rich vocal riffs and unrivalled vocal control; easing us into one of the slickest covers that has ever existed of this song.

The album as a whole features a variety of RnB, Soul with a dash of Pop from time to time - all mixed with Jojo’s icy harmonies and sublime vocals - one of the best. 

 

Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Christmas Album

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Released in 1964 - this was their 7th studio album, containing a variety of new and original Christmas songs combined with some covers. 

This album is a feast for the ears - it’s conception apparently came about when Brian Wilson played piano on a few tracks for Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift (these tracks ended up being cut). 

A White Christmas is a dreamy affair - with magical strings accompanying lush stacked vocals. Other Christmas classics such as Frosty The Snowman and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town get The Beach Boys treatment, all being fused with glorious orchestral arrangements. In a difficult time - this is sure to lift your spirits.

 

Bob Dylan - Christmas in the Heart

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

Oh yes - this exists. Even though I grew up listening to Bob Dylan - this particular album never once surfaced; in fact I only discovered that this existed mere days ago. 

Released in 2009 - it has all the luxurious choral arrangements associated with Christmas music - with  a slight blues, folk and bluegrass feel. All royalties from the sales from this album went to charities such as Feeding America and Crisis - it went to No.1 in the US Billboard Holiday album chart and No.1 in the US Billboard Folk charts. It works - and all for a good cause, definitely worth checking out.

 

Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas:Snow Queen Edition

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Since her recent album release Disco I was reminded just how truly great Kylie's music is. Upon going through her discography I was delighted to discover that she has multiple Christmas albums. Kylie Christmas (Snow Queen Edition) is a re-release of her 2015 album Kylie Christmas - with 6 additional songs.

Features include Frank Sinatra, MIKA, Iggy Pop, Danni Minogue and James Corden. Rich orchestral arrangements, with some jazz touches - a nice, warm Christmas album that has everything you need to get you in the Christmas spirit.

 

SWV - A Special Christmas

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

Sensual, lush 90’s RnB applied to Christmas music - and by God the results are glorious. A Special Christmas is the 4th studio album from the US trio (Cheryl Gamble, Tamara Johnson and Leanne Lyons) which was released in 1997. You may know SWV from their tracks Weak, Right Here - Human Nature and Rain.

It is a skill upon itself to be able to do a unique cover of any Christmas standard; that not only maintains the nostalgic and magical quality of the original; but also incorporating your own  unique musical style - is another feat entirely, and one that is successful in this instance. 

White Christmas opens with the most seductive bassline that has ever been played on any Christmas song since the dawn of time - before diving into a pink bed of glistening celestial synths with the trios heavenly vocals - remaining a deeply romantic Rnb track throughout with Neo-Soul chords.

 

BONUS TRACK

You have made it this far - you may as well be rewarded

Lady Gaga featuring Space Cowboy - Christmas Tree

Article photo - Artists with full length Christmas Albums you NEED to hear

If you were ever on the hunt for a deeply erotic Christmas song - then this is it. There has never, since the beginning of time, ever been a Christmas song quite like this. Perfectly suited to awkward social gatherings, in order to further alienate yourself from the group.

About Eimear O Sullivan

Eimear Ann O Sullivan is a multi-genre music producer, audio engineer and vocalist. After receiving a Masters in Music Technology from the CIT Cork School of Music, she went on to operate as a producer under the name Blakkheart. Her releases have received critical acclaim from Ireland's biggest music publications, such as District Magazine and Nialler9, alongside receiving heavy commercial radio airplay. She currently works in Cork recording studio Flashpoint CC. Previous clients of hers include the likes of Comedy Central’s Dragony Aunt star Candy Warhol, rapper Darce and Outsider YP. (Photo credit @Fabian Boros)

Contact Eimear O Sullivan at eimear.o.sullivan@musicngear.com

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