Wrapped in a ‘Winter Loversland’

Naomi Asrir, Art Team

Turkey had not yet made its way to the Thanksgiving table and artists are already issuing their takes on holiday tunes.

Tamar Braxton released ‘Winter Loversland’ Nov. 11. The R&B singer-songwriter’s third album brings soul to Christmas classics.

Tamar Braxton's 'Winter Loversland' and Kelly Clarkson's 'Wrapped in Red.'
Tamar Braxton’s ‘Winter Loversland’ and Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Wrapped in Red.’

While “Sleigh Ride” displays a nice balance between traditional Yuletide song and modern melody, tracks like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” become lost in the rhythm and blues influence.

The album includes two original pieces, “No Gift” and “She Can Have You.” While she can have strong vocals, “No Gift” is no special achievement.

The album provides traditional favorites with a twist. Braxton encourages like artists to release holiday hybrids.

Kelly Clarkson’s sixth studio album, ‘Wrapped in Red,’ released Oct. 29. Though the “American Idol” winner has a beautiful voice, the work is a bit pompous and melodramatic.

Described as a crossover between Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” and Madonna’s “Material Girl,” “4 Carats” focuses on the tangible aspects of Christmas.”Run Run Rudolph” is undeniably fun, but overdone. Busy elements become indecipherable and claustrophobic.

Classics “Silent Night,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” do not live up to earlier versions by Bing Crosby or Ella Fitzgerald, though “White Christmas” is pleasant. “Sound of Music” fans will admire Clarkson’s version of “My Favorite Things.”

Writing credits of all original songs on the album are shared.

Titular track “Wrapped in Red” is whiny and lacks dimension. “Winter Dreams” is a tribute to husband Brandon Blackstock. Mariah Carey’s work is reflected in “Underneath the Tree,” with an enjoyable upbeat chorus that compromises for the disappointing adaptations present throughout the album.

Though Braxton and Clarkson are competent, other artists are expected to release holiday singles that will raise spirits.