“Don’t Waste Your Wishes,”The Killers
With a title like that — don’t expect too much mirth and cheer from the Killers’ Christmas album to benefit Bono’s AIDS charity, (RED). But who says the holidays are all gumdrops and mistletoe anyway? Tracks include ‘“Don’t Shoot Me Santa” with RyanPardey, “Joel the Lump of Coal” featuring Jimmy Kimmel and other star-studded, sort of grimsing-alongsfrom the band’s annual Christmas series. New to the LP, a western-twanged rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
“A Very Kacey Christmas,”Kacey Musgraves
Wacky, whimsical country starKaceyMusgravesembraces her fullKacey-nessin her appropriately titled holiday release. She’s a lil bit country, a lil bit neo-soul, a lil bit old school Crosby and a lil bit Caribbean with collaborators like Willie Nelson and Trigger (“A Willie Nice Christmas”) and Leon Bridges (“Present Without a Bow). Musgraves’ originals (“Christmas Makes Me Cry,” “Ribbons and Bows”) and quirky, erm… polarizing classics like “Mele Kalikimaka” (featuring theQuebeSisters) and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” are cheerful, repeatable and refreshing holiday fun.
“Christmas Party,” She & Him
ZooeyDeschaneland M.Ward are still at it — laying down adorable retro-tinged indie tracks,and this time it’s for Christmas… again. A follow-up to 2011’s “A Very She & Him Christmas,” the duo pumps out stripped-down renditions of all the favorites, with guest stars Jenny Lewis, the Chapin Sisters and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. Deschanel’s daughter Elise even makes a surprise appearance on “Happy Holiday,” with a sweet little “squee” that’s sure to melt your heart.
“’Tis theSeaSon, “Jimmy Buffett
Hold onto your margaritas, Buffett’s sophomore Christmas album is the jingling, ukulele-strumming party-pleaser you’d expect it to be. Predictable and paradise-ready, the follow-up to “Christmas Island,” including a “Parrothead Version” of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that features “nine pairs of flip-flops,” “five cheeseburgers” and “a purple parrot in a palm tree.”
Aca-lujah! The Texan vocalists are back with their second holiday album since 2014’s “That’s Christmas to Me.” The “Sing-Off”-famous group will also perform their Christmas tracks Dec. 14 on NBC as part of an hour-long holiday special with RebaMcEntireand Kelly Clarkson. The album features a cover of *NSYNCtop 40 classic “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” and a fittingly haunting, reverberating rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Tissues, please.
“Merry Christmas fromAndraDay,” Andra Day
Grammy nominated R&B songstressAndraDay released a 5-track EP ahead of a spree of TV appearances in December, including Empire’s “White Hot Holidays” variety special on Fox Dec. 7. Day duets with country star Jennifer Nettles on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” (which also appears on theSugarlandsinger’s own Yuletide release) and “Someday at Christmas” alongside the legendary Stevie Wonder.
“Simply Christmas,” Leslie Odom Jr.
Tony-winning “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. may have parted ways with the Broadway stage earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the spotlight just yet. His collection of favorites includes soulful, jazzy interpretions of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “First Noel” and “The Christmas Song,” as well as a cover of Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles’ beloved “Winter Song.”
It’s not a new release for this year, but perhaps it went under your radar in 2015: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ “It’s a Holiday Soul Party” seems appropriately sad but joyful this season. The late great singer’s first and only forte into holiday LPs includes a soulful salute to the “8 Days (of Hanukkah)” and toe-tappin’ funk fest, “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects.”