Various Artists

Soft Rock Christmas

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Holiday collections come with effective built-in nostalgia, since the seasonal songs remind everyone of Christmases and holidays past. There's even a sort of Great Holiday Songbook, and the songs in it have been interpreted in every style over the years, from reggae to punk, polka to classical, all fitting harmoniously and comfortably together during each holiday season. It's an amazing seasonal explosion of music, and it's played and heard over a few busy weeks at the end of the year, then vanishes, only to emerge like Christmas butterflies a year later. That's the utility of collections like this. They don't date, since all styles are welcome and included, and they work just fine every holiday season, year after year. This one features soft rock versions of classic songs from the Songbook, and includes Air Supply's take on the hymn "Silent Night," Wilson Phillips' jaunty rendition of "Sleigh Ride," and Shawn Colvin's "O Little Town of Bethlehem," among others, as well as the Bangles' version of Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter," a song that takes place during the holidays rather than being about them.

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