The best (and worst) of Christmas music

Rod Stewart performs at the 80th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in November in New York City.
Rod Stewart performs at the 80th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in November in New York City.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • One of the great joys of the holiday commerce season is the never-ending stream of Christmas music
  • EW offers a run down of some of the best, and worst
  • Rod Stewart, John Travolta and Cee Lo Green make the list

(EW.com) -- For some of you, the focus on Christmas shifted roughly 20 minutes after swallowing the last bite of Thanksgiving pie and you set out to find the best spot for your Black Friday tent.

One of the great joys (or, depending on who you are, nightmares) of the holiday commerce season is the never-ending stream of Christmas music filling in all the empty airspace in your local shopping malls and department stores. But what if you're shopping online, and somehow avoiding every other vestige of public-space holiday-music inundation?

To help you, here's a rundown of some of the new stuff added to the yearly snowpile of Yuletide releases.

Rod Stewart, Merry Christmas, Baby

The undisputed champ of this season's holiday music bonanza is Stewart, whose first holiday album is currently doing big business (it narrowly missed preventing Alicia Keys from being the top album in the country this week). His approach is very much "Over-Eggnogged Uncle Croons Hugs 'Round the Tree," but it's still Rod-ily charming, and his original composition "Red Suited Super Man" will be an alternate-universe hit next Yuletide season.

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Cee Lo Green, Cee Lo's Magic Moment

The music world was half-expecting a new album from Green's old hip-hop group Goodie Mob this holiday season, but instead we got The Voice favorite's blast of red-velvet funk (and that's red velvet like Santa's suit, not the sexy cake kind). Its Motown bounce recalls all the great Stevie Wonder Christmas tracks of yesteryear, and the inclusion of the Muppets (on "All I Need Is Love") is never not awesome.

A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary

For over two decades, the A Very Special Christmas compilations have brought together some of rock and pop's biggest names to pay tribute to the season and raise money for the Special Olympics. For the group's 25th anniversary, they pulled together some classics, including a silky smooth Michael Bublé take on "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and a live recording of Dave Matthews Band's alarmingly sweet original "Christmas Song."

Lady Antebellum, On This Winter's Night

The sonic version of an eternally burning yule log. Though you've heard these songs before, the band uses their three-part harmonies to melt the deepest snow and the iciest Scrooge heart. (Or more likely, just make your mom really happy.)

Holidays Rule

Like the indie version of Now That's What I Call Christmas, Holidays Rule brings together Paul McCartney, Civil Wars, the Shins, and a bevy of other on-the-fringes acts doing Yuletide favorites. Nobody has more fun than, uh, fun., who blow through "Sleigh Ride" with the same kind of joyful abandon they bring to their own hits.

Blake Shelton, Cheers, It's Christmas

With this album and his recent one-hour primetime special, is Blake Shelton taking Santa's place as the new mascot of Christmas? It's possible. Shelton's standards are to be expected, but his original composition "Santa's Got a Choo Choo Train" has charisma to spare.

Scotty McCreary, Christmas With Scott McCreary

Scotty's album made a huge jump up the Billboard chart this week, which means that his core demographic—country fans who find Blake Shelton too edgy—have made their way to their local record emporium. Listen to his "First Noel" only if you don't like booze in your eggnog.

Christina Perri, a very merry perri christmas

Because even Goth kids need a little Christmas cheer, Perri lends her icy alto to a handful of standards plus an original called "Something About December" that provides some fantastically melodic holiday haunting.

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, This Christmas

Need we say more?

See original story at EW.com.

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