Mary Mary

A Mary Mary Christmas

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A Mary Mary Christmas is filled with plenty of joy and excitement. Erica and Tina Campbell and their producers keep proceedings light and funky on a set that's split between originals and covers of classic holiday tunes. Most Christmas albums that showcase original compositions find them overshadowed by the chestnuts; here the opposite occurs. The R&B-based songs like "Only One," "'Tis the Season," and the sunshiny "California Christmas" are so filled with fun and sweetness, the gospel songs (the tender "Still the Lamb," the rollicking "Call Him Jesus") so filled with passion, they make the classics they cover faithfully ("Merry Little Christmas," "Carol of the Bells") sound stodgy. When they do take chances with the arrangements (the seemingly Lion King-influenced "O Come All Ye Faithful," a modern update on "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"), the results are decidedly mixed. While A Mary Mary Christmas is a solid addition to the holiday CD blizzard, a few more originals and fewer "classics" would have made it even more enjoyable.

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