Jewel

Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection

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Fourteen years after her first Christmas album -- the first was Joy: A Holiday Collection, arriving just four years into her career -- comes Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection. The two Christmas albums share the same subtitle as well as the same sensibility: Jewel isn't looking to reinterpret the songs we know and love, but rather deliver satisfyingly sweet versions of melodies embedded in our subconscious. To these tunes -- including the title track, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Sleigh Ride," and a "White Christmas" featuring Vince Gill -- she throws in a couple originals, including "It's Christmastime" and "Blue Christmas Glow." Generally, Jewel is better off when she's brighter -- the slowest moments flirt with the saccharine -- but everything feels sincere and nothing gets bogged down with sticky sentiment. Let It Snow may not transcend the conventions of a Christmas album, but it also avoids the pitfalls and, on the whole, it's better than her first foray into seasonal song.

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