Kelly Clarkson’s brings out ‘Wrapped in Red’ for the holidays.
Does the world really need another version of “Silent Night?”
Apparently, it does — many more, in fact. Every ho-ho-holiday brings a rush of so many seasonal CDs you could stack them higher than the tree in Rockefeller Center.
Nearly every known star has released one, from the expected (Bing Crosby, Celine Dion) to the offbeat (remember drag queen RuPaul’s trashy ode, “Ho Ho Ho” or “American Idol” novelty star William Hung’s cult classic, “Hung for the Holidays”?).
It’s no surprise the Xmas avalanche keeps coming given the gold (and platinum) hiding in Santa’s sleigh. Back in 1957, Elvis Presley’s “Christmas Album” shipped 13 million copies, inspiring a second holiday album from the King in 1971 (“Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas”), and even a new one — “Merry Christmas … Love, Elvis” — which appears on the current Billboard Top 200.
Since 1991, when SoundScan/Nielsen ushered in the era of accurate accounting, Kenny G has moved the most snow-themed discs. His “Miracles: The Holiday Album” sold a titanic 7.2 million copies. In this same period, Josh Groban, Mariah Carey and Dion each sold over 5 million copies of their stocking stuffers.
The current season kicks into high gear the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s already looking as rich and dense as egg nog. Here’s a peak at this year’s most prominent Santa serenades:
Kelly Clarkson, “Wrapped in Red”: This season’s likely sales champ opened at No. 3 and remains in the Top 10. Besides the holiday standards, it includes brand new songs like the zippy hit “Underneath the Tree.”
Various artists, “Now Christmas”: The “Now That’s What I Call Music” folks put together this compilation of 32 seminal holiday hits, from Nat King Cole’s warming “The Christmas Song” to Jose Feliciano’s bracing “Feliz Navidad.”
Leona Lewis’ ‘Christmas With Love’
Mary J. Blige, “A Mary Christmas”: A soul take on the holiday.
Nick Lowe, “Quality Street”: The onetime king of sarcasm releases a holiday disc that’s more sincere, but no less smart.
“IIcon: A Very Special Christmas”: A benefit CD for the Special Olympics, this disc offers performances from Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin and more.
Various artists, “Motown Christmas Holiday”: Vintage versions of classics by Detroit acts such as the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye.
Kool and the Gang, “Kool for the Holidays”: From the funk of “Jungle Boogie” to the lilting beats of “Little Drummer Boy.”
Erasure, “Snow Globe”: Have yourself a synth-pop Christmas.
Piano Guys, “A Family Christmas”: Offering instrumental versions of the typical touchstones.
Crystal Bowersox , “Coming Out for Christmas”: As its title implies, this could be the first holiday song geared toward the LGBT community. As the “American Idol” runnerup said, “It pains me to think that anyone would be left alone, or be forbidden to be with their family, over something as silly as their sexual orientation.”
Soundtrack, “Black Nativity”: To accompany the new movie of the Langston Hughes play, this Christmas set features devotionals from Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese, Mary J. Blige and Nas.
‘Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas’
Leona Lewis, “Christmas With Love”: Covers of the usual cuts (“Winter Wonderland,” “O Holy Night”) along with three new cold-season songs.
Susan Boyle, “Home for Christmas”: It’s the flaccid star’s second collection of Decembery songs. Boyle’s first, “The Gift,” moved 3 million copies in 2010.
Mannheim Steamroller , “Christmas Symphony II”: The lucky 13th holiday album from the New Age bores.
Il Volo, “Buon Natale: The Christmas Album”: The teen idols of pop-opera give their florid spin on the likes of “Ave Maria.”
Human Nature, “Dreaming of a White Christmas”: The pinch-voiced Aussie singing quartet Human Nature gives us the “Silent Night” treatment.
Celtic Woman, “Home for Christmas: Live From Dublin”: The trad vocal group turns “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” Celtic.
The Rat Pack , “Icon: Christmas With the Rat Pack”: Here, the original Rat Pack — Sinatra, Sammy and Dean-o — party especially hard for the holiday.
Duck Dynasty, “Duck the Halls”: Who but the Ducks would perform songs like “Hairy Christmas” or “Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas”? The joke has paid off — to the tune of over 250,000 copies sold so far.