Leona Lewis's CHRISTMAS WITH LOVE [2013]

Wouldn't mind hearing this one again

Fortunately, with the release of Lewis's Christmas, With Love album, HERC can listen to "One More Sleep" as often as he likes, along with two other new Holiday Lewis co-writes and seven perennial favorites.  In interviews, she has stated her inspiration was Motown and you can hear a bit of that but mostly HERC hears the Phil Spector Christmas album with a slight touch of Mariah/Whitney/Xtina but not enough to turn it off.  One original, "Mr. Right", is catchy in that I'm-lonely-again-this-Christmas kind of way ("Nothing I need/Under my tree/I just want Mr. Right") while the other new song, "Your Hallelujah" is just a little too slow and breathy for HERC's tastes.  Leona takes the Otis Redding way through "White Christmas" and does a more than admirable job while her reading of one of HERC's all-time favorite Holiday songs, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" gets a passing grade as well though in fairness, it's hard to ruin that one.  She does a suitably stirring rendition of "O Holy Night", another favorite of HERC's, nailing the always spine-tingling "Fall on your knees" part.  The biggest surprise of the album is Lewis's masterful, operatic "Ave Maria" - it is exquisite.  This album is highly recommended.

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