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TUESDAY NEW RELEASES: Ke$ha’s Warrior and Hinder’s Freakshow Battle Good Taste

Popular Holiday Albums

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Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby (Verve)

This year’s holiday music of the moment comes from Rod Stewart, fresh off the release of his autobiography and a series of geezer-bating (and mediocre) American Songbook albums. A top ten mainstay since its release in October, Merry Christmas, Baby features his take on classic holiday tunes, including this wannabe-Sting performance of “The Christmas Song.

Michael Buble – Christmas (Reprise)

Blake Shelton – Cheers, It’s Christmas (Warner Bros.)

Lady Antebellum – On This Winter’s Night (Capitol)

Scotty McCreery – Christmas With Scotty McCreery (Mercury Nashville)

Josh Groban – Noel (WEA / Reprise)

Artists love holiday releases because they sell well year after year. Groban’s Noel moved more than 3.6 million copies during its first three months back in 2007, and in the five years since it earned its spot as the second most popular holiday album of the Soundscan era (behind Kenny G’s Miracles.) Groban’s versions of “Ave Maria” and “Silent Night” alone make this worthy of a listen if you haven’t already.

Justin Bieber – Under the Mistletoe (Island)

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night) (Universal Republic)

Various Artists – Holidays Rule (Hear Music)

Colbie Caillat – Christmas in the Sand (Universal Republic)

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy Records)

This one sells itself, the hands-down best holiday release of the last 50 years. It helps that the songs embedded themselves into our memories through a holiday television classic, but Guaraldi’s timeless jazzy arrangements would win us over even if we didn’t know the basis of “Linus and Lucy.” And if you don’t melt when hearing “Christmas Time Is Here,” I don’t want to know you.

Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Today’s Christmas (Capitol)

Andrea Bocelli – My Christmas (Verve)

Elvis Presley – It’s Christmas Time (Sony/BMG Special Markets)

Taylor Swift – The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection (Universal)

Jeremy Camp – Christmas: God With Us (EMI CMG)

CCM songwriter Jeremy Camp’s first full-length Christmas album features both original and traditional holiday songs, a collection you’ll want to make a staple of your yearly musical celebrations. Camp’s grunged-up version of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” stands out alongside the title track as reasons to listen.

Mannheim Steamroller – Christmas Symphony (American Gramaphone)

Francesca Battistelli – Christmas (Fervent Records)

Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas (Sony)

tobyMac – Christmas in Diverse City (EMI)

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Just in time for December shopping, Hollywood rolls out the big guns. The elephant in the room, The Dark Knight Rises, stands guaranteed to stuff millions of stockings, while Eastbound & Down’s third season and The Simpsons’ 15th bring plenty of laughs. Plus: Holiday horror abounds as 1984’s Silent Night, Holy Night gets the remake treatment!