Most helpful critical review
Another great collection of Holiday hits.
on December 16, 2003
This is another great release of Christmas music by the Now! producers. I assume they had no original plans to release a second volume of "Now That's What I Call Christmas!", or didn't expect the phenomenal success they got with the first, because a lot of songs on each collection could have been omitted and/or combined to make THE definitive Christmas collection, without the filler.
The one song that is absolutely horrendous and almost single-handedly drags the album's rating all the way down to three stars, is B2K's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". Matter of fact, I couldn't even finish listening to that track after about 6 "yo's", "hey's", "wassup's" and the like right at the beginning. Nothing against their style of music, I just personally wouldn't regularly listen to it, and it is certainly not Christmas-friendly in this case. If these guys just had to be used, like another reviewer said, it should have been at a point on the disc where you could skip past it. At the very least, they should have done an original instead of mangling a classic. I doubt they're that talented to come up with something new in terms of holiday music, though. Evidently, the Jackson 5 version, although beyond superior, wouldn't have been "appropriate" with the controversies currently surrounding Michael in the news. Manhattan Transfer does a great rendition that they could have gone with here and Bruce Springsteen has a stellar version available on the first volume also that could have been used again if necessary.
Notable omissions this time around include versions of "O Holy Night" by Josh Groban and/or John Berry, which could have replaced the Celine Dion version used, "Hey Santa!" by Carnie and Wendy Wilson along with "Jingle Bell Rock" by Hall and Oates, and Gayla Peevey's "Hippopotamus Song". Maybe for Volume 3!
Highlights: The classics such as "Step into Christmas" by Elton John, "Rudolph..." by Burl Ives, and tracks by Christmas mainstays like Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis speak for themselves, of course, and Kylie Minogue does such a brilliant rework of "Santa Baby", you barely think it's a remake. Nothing beats the original, but this is one "sequel" that comes close. Happy Holidays!