12 Songs, 29 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Quite possibly the sexiest Christmas album ever, Peggy Lee’s 1960 LP Christmas Carousel attempts to transport the quintessential smoky-nightclub chanteuse into the holiday living rooms of average American families. Although Peggy Lee was marketed as the all-American girl next door from North Dakota, she was a thoroughly modern singer. Her voice is gorgeous, but you can feel her best traits being suppressed on more traditional material like “The Star Carol.” Conversely, she really comes alive on more contemporary Christmas songs, especially “I Like a Sleighride” and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” She's one of the few singers who can handle this material in a way that's family-friendly without being corny. It's testament to Lee’s talents that she could turn a bellowing wooden rhythm like “Deck the Halls” into something subtle and snappy. Of course, all the truly great Christmas albums tap into the season's underlying melancholy, and few performances channel that bittersweet feeling better than Lee’s version of “White Christmas.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Quite possibly the sexiest Christmas album ever, Peggy Lee’s 1960 LP Christmas Carousel attempts to transport the quintessential smoky-nightclub chanteuse into the holiday living rooms of average American families. Although Peggy Lee was marketed as the all-American girl next door from North Dakota, she was a thoroughly modern singer. Her voice is gorgeous, but you can feel her best traits being suppressed on more traditional material like “The Star Carol.” Conversely, she really comes alive on more contemporary Christmas songs, especially “I Like a Sleighride” and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” She's one of the few singers who can handle this material in a way that's family-friendly without being corny. It's testament to Lee’s talents that she could turn a bellowing wooden rhythm like “Deck the Halls” into something subtle and snappy. Of course, all the truly great Christmas albums tap into the season's underlying melancholy, and few performances channel that bittersweet feeling better than Lee’s version of “White Christmas.”

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