Various Artists

Top 40 Christmas [Dana Point]

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First up, Top 40 Christmas isn't a collection of Christmas songs that charted in the Top 40, but rather a collection of 40 Christmas songs, which is a slightly different thing. The arrangements are largely big, safe and rather generic sounding, making this an ideal anthology for retailers to play in their stores during the holiday season, since nothing here is going to seriously startle anyone. Still there are a few mild surprises, like the gospel blast of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" after several tracks of atmospheric prettiness, the sudden emergence of Santa (he isn't much of a presence here until the final cuts of the third disc) in "Up on the Housetop," and the unsettling weirdness of "Toyland" done as a polka.

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