It's Christmas, Of CourseWhat holiday has the most overworked lexicon of musical treasures? As the title of Darlene Love’s new album boldly states: It’s Christmas, of Course.  And the 12 songs on the album are nothing if not overworked. But then, what Christmas song isn’t? For her part, Love did make the conscious decision to avoid the ’50s and ’60s, opting instead to move on and cover songs from the ’70s and ’80s. While this is a welcome choice, there’s still a feeling of redundancy to the majority of this album.

As a Christmas performer, Darlene Love is famous for holding an annual Christmas concert in New York and performing her own Christmas tune “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” for the last 20 years on the Late Show with David Letterman. She’s also released numerous albums over the years, though this is her first Christmas album. From her vast work in the business (and her nomination to the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, it’s clear enough that Love has got some powerful vocals and well-known talent; unfortunately neither really gets the chance to shine through on this lackluster holiday collection.

With the Phil Specter Wall of Sound removed, her voice seems a bit lost in the relaxed, diminutive sounds backing her up. Occasionally, even Love herself sounds bored with the tunes she’s been given to belt out. The most well-known songs (Tom Petty’s “Christmas All Over Again” and John and Yoko’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”) offer nothing exceptional to listeners familiar with them, especially considering the amount of covers and airtime these songs have received. The entire album begins to blend together into a bland exercise, though Love does show a spark of her talent in the soulful “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?”. But we all know Darlene Love can do better. Do yourself a favor for Christmas: skip the album and go see her as Motormouth Maybelle in the Broadway production of “Hairspray.”

Zach’s Review: C-
Perfect For: Diehard Darlene fans
Stay Away if: Recycled Christmas tunes need a little twist to keep you interested

To purchase It’s Christmas, of Course, visit Amazon

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