Michael Bolton

This Is the Time: The Christmas Album

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Michael Bolton gave notice of his seasonal intentions in 1992 when he included "White Christmas" on his covers album Timeless (The Classics). In 1996, he continued to forestall the necessity of following up the commercially disappointing 1993 album The One Thing (having previously delivered a hits collection in '95) by issuing a full-length Christmas album. Christmas discs tend to mix the lighthearted with the reverent, and while Bolton could certainly be solemn enough (if characteristically overwrought) to turn in an acceptable "Silent Night," his takes on holiday fare intended to emphasize the fun side of the season came off as a little intense. Demonstrating his new interest in the operatic tenor range, Bolton duetted with Placido Domingo on "Ave Maria" without either embarrassing or distinguishing himself, and he included two newly written Christmas songs unlikely to join the canon. On the whole, as Christmas albums go, This Is the Time came under the heading of "If you like Michael Bolton ..." rather than contributing anything new to the genre. (The album was released as a "CD Extra" featuring multimedia information for computer users that included a video of Bolton performing his mournful version of "White Christmas" live, plus a sneak preview of Bolton's upcoming CD-ROM containing a discography, an excerpt of a music video of "Said I Loved You...But I Lied," a little backstage footage from a documentary, and information about Bolton's charitable foundation.)

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