"Wrapped in Red," the opening track of Kelly Clarkson's new Christmas album of the same name, is a wonderful fusion of her powerful pipes in upper register and a Spectoresque production (album is produced by Greg Kurstin ) to ring in the holidays and her refreshing new Yuletide effort.
I may have taken the diva to task in what is still my most popular (and controversial, judging by the comments) blog post ever at a current 7,828 views. http://djbuddybeaverhausen.blogspot.com/2011/12/advising-kelly-clarkson.html But I have also heralded the best of her recent dance anthems, as well, on same blog. This holiday album is aces and I never had issues with KC's talent. Her promo images for "Wrapped in Red" have Kelly looking quite glam, too.
Country Weekly wrote: [F]or her Christmas album Wrapped in Red, Kelly goes from full-on Darlene Love with Phil Spector in the original single “Underneath the Tree” and title track... to a spectacularly soulful cover of “Blue Christmas” and a more traditional take on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Indeed, Spector's pop aesthetic influences a few of this album's more upbeat tracks. "Underneath the Tree" even includes a sax bridge and well-timed bells in the background.
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a melancholic holiday perennial, is solidly covered but not likely to make you forget Judy Garland's original version or even The Pretenders' cover featuring Chrissy Hynde. Likewise, "Blue Christmas" won't erase memories of Elvis (which it almost slavishly, at most time, emulates) or Cyndi Lauper's cover from last year. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a cute duet with Ronnie Dunn, but haven't all duets of this perennial been cuties? Still, it may warm your cold insides like a cup of hot cocoa.
Kelly certainly makes "White Christmas" her own in a spare arrangement with piano. And she does a very nice version of the carol, "Silent Night," also with a soft hand on the production with back-up vocals effectively ending in dramatic acapella. "Run Run, Rudolph" rocks, a highlight of this album, certainly, allowing KC to put her own spin on the song popularized by Chuck Berry. "Please Come Home for Christmas" is beautifully soulful, and "My Favorite Things" (from The Sound of Music) is a wonderfully arranged swing/jazz interpretation showcasing the artist's vocal brilliance.
"4 Carats" is the dancefloor track from the "Stronger" songbird and producer. It distinctly owes a debt to "Santa Baby,"which isn't a bad thing. Imogen Heap's "Just for Now" is magnificently interpreted and put across. "Winter Dream" is a drop-dead gorgeous original. And you can't beat Kelly's bluesy powerhouse interpretation of the Billy Hayes & Jay Johnson number, "Every Christmas."
This is definitely a keeper to play for many holiday seasons to come. Recommended for your Christmas list.