Joy: A Holiday Collection

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Joy: A Holiday Collection may surprise some Jewel fans, since it isn't a warm, intimate acoustic album. Then again, it may not, since it arrives on the heels of the exquisitely produced, unabashedly pop Spirit, which had lush musical backdrops for her folk-pop tunes. Joy is a full-bodied expansion of Spirit, however -- an unashamed classicist Christmas album, featuring all of the usual carols delivered with strings and choirs. Because Jewel has a big, powerful, attractive voice, Joy works, even if it is a little too predictable for its own good -- the closing "Christmas Version" of "Hands" is the only true signal, musically at least, that this is a Jewel number. Surely, this holiday album isn't a major addition to her catalog, but for hardcore fans, it may be a nice stocking stuffer.

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