Let music put you in the right mood for Christmas

It’s cold outside, and you’ve been thinking of making some hot cocoa or hot tea since you woke up, and now you are looking for some music to light up the holiday mood. There are so many Christmas albums to choose from in the market, so Eslite Bookstore, one of the largest book store chains in Taiwan, has made it easy for listeners to brighten up their holiday season by recommending four CD albums.

If you love listening to a heavenly voice in a heavenly setting, check out “American Idol” runner-up David Archuleta’s new holiday album “Christmas from the Heart.” Many of the favorite Christmas classic songs, such as ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas,’ ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,’ and ‘O Holy Night’ are included on the album ,and Archuleta makes each song his own by adding special changes and melodies that aren’t normally on the tracks. In ‘Ave Maria,’ we hear Archuleta do a beautiful rendition in Spanish instead of the original Latin. ‘Melodies of Christmas,’ a song co-written by Archuleta, sets the holiday spirit for the rest of the album.
Another heavenly voice recommended by Eslite is the successful Christmas release “Winter Magic” by Hayley Westenra, New Zealand’s 22-year-old soprano. Westenra’s limpid voice and disarming charm gives new life to the classic Christmas songs. There are four songs that Westenra has co-written in this album, and they are among the best tracks on it. The stunning ‘Christmas Morning’ epitomizes the atmosphere of Christmas for a child while the louder ‘Peace Shall Come’ shows her talent for more poppy compositions.

If you are in search of a more party style Christmas music, you cannot miss the Japanese duo Naomi and Goro’s holiday album—“Presente de natal,” an album that will surely liven things up. The album is a collection of classic and modern holiday songs played in bossa nova style. The combination of guitar, harp, percussion, and the charming voice of the female lead will take you away from a monotonous existence.

Last but not least, for those who are interested in less classic Christmas melodies, try Sting’s “If On A Winter’s Night…” This is not an album filled with classic Christmas treasures; rather, Sting goes out on a creative limb with his band mates, and together they create a more artistic Christmas album that has classical and folk pieces including a Celtic begging song. It also has a folk tune from Sting’s hometown of Newcastle, a reference to Schubert’s Winterreise and more; as well as two original pieces, the beautiful “Lullaby for an Anxious Child" and a new arrangement of the previously recorded “Hounds of Winter."

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