Various Artists

Pop and Soul: Holiday Hits, Vol. 2

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Like its predecessor, Pop & Soul Holiday Hits, Universal Music Special Markets' Pop & Soul Holiday Hits, Vol. 2 collects ten Christmas and holiday-associated tunes from Universal's vaults. This time around, the compilation skips through the decades, from the early '60s to the late '90s. Not only that, but it happens to pick up a pair of songs that are genuine Christmas rock classics with the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" and Hall & Oates' spirited 1983 cover of "Jingle Bell Rock." That's not to knock the rest of the collection, however, which is quite strong in its own right, thanks to the Pointer Sisters' 1982 version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," Eurythmics' "Miracle of Love," SWV's 1997 "Silent Night," Amy Grant's 1992 "O Come All Ye Faithful," Barry Manilow's duet with Exposé on "Jingle Bells," and latter-day tracks from Dionne Warwick ("It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas") and Aretha Franklin ("Joy to the World"). This may be one of those rare cases where the sequel surpasses its successor.

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