Quick hits

Looking for the sounds of the season? The Xtreme Teen Board picked a few holiday albums to review for festive tunes.


'Sounds of the Season'

Artist: Taylor Swift

Originally Released: Oct 14, 2007

My thoughts: Taylor Swift's Christmas album is short, sweet and predictable. With just six tracks, including perennials such as Last Christmas and Santa Baby in a country style, the CD perfectly characterizes Taylor, a happy teenager right before her fame hit an all-time high.

Each cover feels like a nicely packaged version of standards, and the CD would be a standard one except for two originals: Christmases When You Were Mine and Christmas Must be Something More.

The first of the two originals focuses on one of Taylor's standard heartbreak and romance songs, and the latter focuses on the commercialization of Christmas. Both are fine topics, but overdone.

Christmas Must be Something More feels commercialized and empty, even with Taylor's signature country flair and self-written vocals questioning the happiness that comes from a cardboard box. Christmases When You Were Mine just lacks a punch.

There's just something missing, even with the country pop meets tradition feel the album tries to convey. It's fine for fans, but falls short for everyone else.

Grade: B-

--Lauren Noto

Carols for a Cure Vol. 11

Release Date: November 17th, 2009

The Review: All right theater kids, Carols for a Cure is the Christmas CD for you. Comprised of a compilation of Broadway cast members crooning Christmas tunes, this CD acts as a fundraiser for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS Organization. Besides helping a worthy cause, listeners can expect top-notch voices that feature stars from the Broadway, Off-Broadway, and National Touring casts of some of the most well known musicals in America.

Highlights include Wicked's Carol of the Bell, Altar Boyz's Oh, Chanukah," Rent's We Wish you a Merry Christmas, and West Side Story's Jingle Bells. Each cast turns overdone sing-a-longs into high-energy theatre pieces. Carols for a Cure is a worthy buy that helps a worthy cause.

Rating: A-

--Michael Ryan

"Oh Blue Christmas EP"

Artist: A Fine Frenzy

Released: Nov. 3, 2009

My thoughts: With the soulful sounds of singer, Allison Sudol, A Fine Frenzy's new Christmas EP, Oh Blue Christmas was impressive. With a new expressive take on classic Christmas tunes such as Blue Christmas and Winter Wonderland, this album is definitely a good choice for any Christmas get-together.

Grade: A-

--Carolyn Calloway