by Robert S. Harmon
Christmas is an absolutely beautifully recorded and sung album by the velvety rat pack voice of Michael Buble. The arrangements are stellar featuring big band and full orchestra backings by some of the best musicians in the business with a great deal of input from Michael himself and genius producer David Foster. Additional production by Bob Rock gives an especially rewarding re-work of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. Michael slows the tempo way down and turns Mariah’s festive version into a very romantic and longing song of desire and passion. What a great version of one of the best Christmas songs written in the last 20 years!
Also quite amazing is Michael’s version of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Here he wisely sticks to Darlene Love’s original arrangement though the brass and drums are recorded so well and sound so bright it might almost make you forget her original version which is also fantastic. Buble modestly said that he might not have her pipes but he sure made up for it with his own punch and swagger. Another classic is given the Buble treatment and the listener cannot help but get drawn into the singers desire to get his baby home as soon as possible.
There are an amazing 15 songs on this version which includes all traditional songs except for one original written by Michael and his piano player Alan Chang, Cold December Night, another romantic and well sung ballad that would go quite well with an eggnog sitting by the fireplace. There are spicy versions of Holly Jolly Christmas and Jingle Bells as well as an awesome duet with Shania Twain on White Christmas that borrows a great deal from the Drifters version featured in the Home Alone movie.
Michael sings a hauntingly beautiful version of Ave Maria where he really shows the richness and clarity of his amazingly beautiful diction and singing technique. Remember this is a guy who closes out many of his concerts by putting the microphone down on the stage and singing the last song without amplification. Silent Night features a tender brass arrangement at the beginning that segues into a beautiful children’s choir that sings along with Michael.
Michael Buble’s Christmas ranks right up there with the greatest holiday records of all time by Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. This album is immaculately sung and well produced and is a timeless masterpiece for the ages.