Marie-Élaine Thibert

Un Jour Noël

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Best known for nearly winning Star Academie (a Quebecois analogue to shows such as American Idol), Marie-Élaine Thibert has a light touch with her vocals, something of a penchant for singing the songs put in front of her without thrashing too heavily upon them. For a basic Christmas album, however, the songs are perhaps a bit too common, too standard to be given a free pass. Thibert does a fine job on the pieces, primarily French translations of holiday standards, though the arrangements are a bit too standard themselves. A casual brass section and a tinkling piano join forces with canned choruses to create something straight from a TV special. Thibert gamely tries to make her way through, but her voice tends to overpower the simplicity of the arrangements, adding just a bit too much oomph to allow the music to carry on without incident. Aside from one fairly good turn with Ave Maria, there's nothing new to be heard here -- just a lackluster holiday album. Fans may want to give it a shot for Thibert's vocals themselves, but even those vocals are restrained by the material here. Thibert does no major favors to the material, and the songs do no favors to Thibert.

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