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Now That's What I Call Xmas

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1 Review

Genre: Compilation / Artist: Various Artists / Box set / Audio CD released 2009-11-16 at Virgin TV

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    1 Review
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      21.12.2009 20:04
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      3 Comments

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      Ideal to wrap presents to, or indeed to open them!

      Everyone, it seems, either loves or hates Christmas music. If you fall into the latter category, it's probably pointless reading this review; on the other hand, if festive tunes make you smile, you may find something useful here.

      Now That's What I Call Xmas is one of the many Christmas CDs available. It is a 3 CD set and currently retails for £11.98 on Amazon. I bought it a couple of years ago after checking the tracklist on loads of Christmas CDs!

      Disc 1
      The first CD consists mainly of mainstream Christmas hits. It begins with the famous anti-war tune Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and continues with the original Band Aid tune Do They Know It's Christmas (the modern version of this song closes the CD providing an interesting contrast). This isn't one of my favourite Xmas tunes as I've always found it more than a little patronising, but if you ignore the lyrics the melody is decent and it's always fun to play 'spot-the-singer'. No Christmas CD is complete without the fantastic Pogues & Kirsty McColl tune, and luckily it appears pretty soon into the CD. It is followed by Greg Lake's I Believe in Father Christmas. I had never heard this song before buying this CD, but now it's one of my favourites.

      Next up are three Christmas party staples to cheer you up - Elton John, Wizzard and Slade will have you singing. The next few songs produce a bit of a retro sound, with the likes of the Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder and even the Puppini Sisters, who sing a rather interesting version of Jingle Bells!
      After Jona Lewie's unexpected Christmas song Stop The Cavalry, the CD does take a rather disappointing turn, from here on dominated by modern pop artists with both original songs and covers of festive classics. Girls Aloud's effort is quite fun, and Kylie's version of Santa Baby is pretty decent, but Samantha Mumba's (remember her?) cover of All I Want For Christmas Is You only serves to confirm how good the original is. I'm hardly Mariah Carey's biggest fan, but after hearing Samantha's incredibly pathetic and painful effort I realised just how good Mariah's voice was! The CD also includes Frankie Goes To Hollywood's The Power Of Love, which to me doesn't sound like a Christmas song, but never mind.

      Track Listing
      1. John & Yoko And The Plastic Ono Band - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
      2. Band Aid - Do They Know Its Christmas? (1984 Original Version)
      3. The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York
      4. Greg Lake - I Believe In Father Christmas
      5. Elton John - Step Into Christmas
      6. Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
      7. Slade Merry Xmas Everybody
      8. Mike Oldfield - In Dulci Jubilo
      9. Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time
      10. The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick
      11. The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
      12. Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means To Me
      13. The Jackson 5 - Frosty The Snowman
      14. The Supremes - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
      15. The Puppini Sisters - Jingle Bells
      16. Girls Aloud - Not Tonight Santa
      17. Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry
      18. Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby
      19. Samantha Mumba - All I Want For Christmas Is You
      20. Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love
      21. Band Aid 20 - Do They Know It's Christmas?

      Disc 2
      The second CD includes more traditional songs, largely from the mid-20th century, which produce a completely different festive mood. Highlights include Bing Crosby's White Christmas, Dean Martin's Let It Snow! and Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (which for some reason always reminds me of Home Alone). There are also some lesser-known tunes like Swingin' On A Star. This CD is rounded off with some carols, like Silent Night and In The Bleak Midwinter.

      Track Listing
      1. Bing Crosby - White Christmas
      2. Nat King Cole Trio - The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)
      3. Dean Martin - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
      4. Matt Monro - Mary's Boy Child
      5. Adam Faith - Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop)
      6. Brenda Lee - Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
      7. Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock
      8. Alma Cogan - Never Do A Tango With An Eskimo
      9. Big Dee Irwin - Swinging On A Star
      10. Kay Starr - (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag
      11. Cliff Richard - Little Town
      12. The Spinners - The Twelve Days Of Christmas
      13. Burl Ives - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
      14. The Kings Singers - While Shepherds Watched
      15. Sinéad O'Connor - Silent Night Holy Night
      16. Steeleye Span - Gaudete
      17. Bert Jansch - In The Bleak Mid Winter
      18. The Weavers - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
      19. Jethro Tull - Ring Out Solstice Bells

      Disc 3
      This disc has more modern songs than the previous disc, but they tend towards the contemplative and thoughtful. Walking In the Air is included, naturally, as is Chris De Burgh's A Spaceman Came Travelling, which for some reason I really like despite finding Chris De Burgh quite creepy! There is another Cliff Richard song - there was one on the last disc - however nothing on earth can make me find him less creepy, his songs to me do not have that kind of redeeming quality! The worst song on this CD however is probably Stacie Orrico's awful warbling version of O Come All Ye Faithful. Stacie was a teen singer who was popular a couple of years ago but as far as I know disappeared off the radar not long after. It's easy to see why judging by this song. The rest of the CD is a bit of a mishmash, as if the compilers were trying to fit all the songs that wouldn't go on to either of the other two! The CD, and the compilation, closes with, rather appropriately, ABBA's Happy New Year.

      Track Listing
      1. Aled Jones - Walking In The Air
      2. Chris De Burgh - A Spaceman Came Travelling
      3. David Essex - A Winter's Tale
      4. Mud - Lonely This Christmas
      5. Cliff Richard - Saviour's Day
      6. Michael Ball - Driving Home For Christmas
      7. Patrizio Buanne - Winter Wonderland
      8. Bing Crosby/David Bowie - Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy
      9. Kate Bush - Home For Christmas
      10. Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews - Baby, Its Cold Outside
      11. Love Unlimited Orchestra -It May Be Winter Outside(But In My Heart Its Spring)
      12. State Of The Heart - Last Christmas
      13. Squeeze - Christmas Day
      14. Donna Summer - Winter Melody
      15. Dina Carroll - The Perfect Year
      16. Vanessa Williams - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
      17. Stacie Orrico - O Come, All Ye Faithful
      18. Norah Jones - Peace
      19. Abba - Happy New Year

      Overall, I would say that this is a brilliant Christmas CD. It has songs for every festive taste and mood - pop classics, retro songs, and more thought-provoking tracks. The only problem is the couple of bad cover versions that sneak in every so often, but there are enough good songs on this CD to make up for this.

      I would definitely recommend this CD to anyone who likes festive music - it's got something for everyone.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 John & Yoko And The Plastic Ono Band - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
      2 Band Aid - Do They Know Its Christmas? (1984 Original Version)
      3 The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York
      4 Greg Lake - I Believe In Father Christmas
      5 Elton John - Step Into Christmas
      6 Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
      7 Slade Merry Xmas Everybody
      8 Mike Oldfield - In Dulci Jubilo
      9 Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time
      10 The Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick
      11 The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
      12 Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means To Me
      13 The Jackson 5 - Frosty The Snowman
      14 The Supremes - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
      15 The Puppini Sisters - Jingle Bells
      16 Girls Aloud - Not Tonight Santa
      17 Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry
      18 Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby
      19 Samantha Mumba - All I Want For Christmas Is You
      20 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love
      21 Band Aid 20 - Do They Know It's Christmas?

      Disc #2 Tracklisting
      1 Bing Crosby - White Christmas
      2 Nat King Cole Trio - The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)
      3 Dean Martin - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
      4 Matt Monro - Mary's Boy Child
      5 Adam Faith - Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop)
      6 Brenda Lee - Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
      7 Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock
      8 Alma Cogan - Never Do A Tango With An Eskimo
      9 Big Dee Irwin - Swinging On A Star
      10 Kay Starr - (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag
      11 Cliff Richard - Little Town
      12 The Spinners - The Twelve Days Of Christmas
      13 Burl Ives - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
      14 The Kings Singers - While Shepherds Watched
      15 Sinéad O'Connor - Silent Night Holy Night
      16 Steeleye Span - Gaudete
      17 Bert Jansch - In The Bleak Mid Winter
      18 The Weavers - We Wish You A Merry Christmas
      19 Jethro Tull - Ring Out Solstice Bells

      Disc #3 Tracklisting
      1 Aled Jones - Walking In The Air
      2 Chris De Burgh - A Spaceman Came Travelling
      3 David Essex - A Winter's Tale
      4 Mud - Lonely This Christmas
      5 Cliff Richard - Saviour's Day
      6 Michael Ball - Driving Home For Christmas
      7 Patrizio Buanne - Winter Wonderland
      8 Bing Crosby/David Bowie - Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy
      9 Kate Bush - Home For Christmas
      10 Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews - Baby, Its Cold Outside
      11 Love Unlimited Orchestra -It May Be Winter Outside(But In My Heart Its Spring)
      12 State Of The Heart - Last Christmas
      13 Squeeze - Christmas Day
      14 Donna Summer - Winter Melody
      15 Dina Carroll - The Perfect Year
      16 Vanessa Williams - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
      17 Stacie Orrico - O Come, All Ye Faithful
      18 Norah Jones - Peace
      19 Abba - Happy New Yea