The Christmas Collection
With three previous holiday albums behind her, Amy Grant has become something of a Christmas musical institution. The Christmas Collection takes the best of her past offerings and adds four newly recorded tracks for extra spice. Among the previously released tunes, the standouts include “Tennessee Christmas” (an affectionate salute to Grant’s adopted state), “Grown-Up Christmas List” (a prayer for peace and harmony), and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (perhaps the most zesty reading of this seasonal standard ever recorded). “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” burn with the well-channeled intensity Grant has brought to her pop hits. The fresh cuts include “I Need a Silent Night” (a pointed commentary on modern holiday madness), “Baby, It’s Christmas” (a sultry number with an uptown jazz feel) and a grandly orchestrated remake of “Count Your Blessings.” Also not to be missed is Amy’s tempo-shifting take on “Jingle Bells.” About the only thing missing from The Christmas Collection is a track or two from 1986’s Animal's Christmas, Grant’s underrated collaboration with Art Garfunkel.