Various Artists

Parasol Presents Christmas Singles

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A much better than average collection of Christmas songs (some originals, some standards) by the roster of indie pop label Parasol Records, 2000's Parasol Presents Christmas Singles succeeds where so many Christmas rock albums of the '90s failed by being neither coy nor condescending. There are a minimum of bah humbug songs (okay, White Town's "Merry Fucking Christmas" qualifies) and the standards are largely treated with respect, even if they're entirely rearranged. Ex-Sarge singer Elizabeth Elmore's Lilith Fair-ish acoustic guitar version of "White Christmas" is absolutely lovely, for example. The originals are mostly a solid and cheerful bunch, particularly Mark Bacino's "Merry Christmas, I Love You" and Angie Heaton's rocking "Hard Candy Christmas," and the whole thing exudes good cheer.

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