When I think of the best kind of Christmas music I think of orchestras, choirs and bombastic production. It's the one time where I think an artist can get 'excessive' and still present an album that will become a timeless yuletide favorite. That means that an artist should also refrain from recording too many 'new' songs for as good as Toby Keith's "Christmas To Christmas" album was a decade ago, I don't remember much beyond a track or two. With these thoughts in mind, I put this album, "Joy To The World," in the CD player and pushed play.
What I heard was a delightful 11 track album that Faith Hill had constructed over the course of the last few years. While country fans will be sad to not have any down-home, acoustic tracks on the album, the extravagance of the album is perfect for a Christmas album. The orchestra is present on the Title track and they don't leave the album until the album's final track and radio single "A Baby Changes Everything." In between these two songs are nine yuletide tracks that allow Faith to flex her vocal muscles. "Santa Clause Is Comin' To Town" is given a Jazzy arrangement with horns and tickled pianos while "Little Drummer Boy" is backed by a chorus. The arrangement of "Holly Jolly Christmas" will certainly put a smile on anyone's face while Faith's reading of "O Holy Night" shows why the song has become a staple of powerful vocalists and choirs alike.
As far as Holiday albums go one cannot get much better than "Joy To The World." This album, like Josh Groban's "Noel" from last year, has the ability to become not only the year's best and most precious Christmas album but also one of the first you listen to year after year. It's a classic.