Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas II You

'All I Want For Christmas Is You' has become as synonymous with the festive season as the coca cola advert on TV so it's fitting that just as the latter makes its first appearance, Mariah Carey is back with her second Christmas album. It may have a ridiculously limited appeal - unquestionably you have to be both a Mariah fan and a lover of all things Christmas - but that didn't stop Merry Christmas, her first festive album, shipping 12 million copies worldwide. Thankfully original songs are in limited supply here as none of the four showcased have the legs of the aforementioned classic; 'Oh Santa!' even becomes downright awful thanks to some misguided rapping midway through although, in a small blessing, not from Mariah herself. Where the album does excel though is taking festive classics and adding Mariah's not inconsiderable vocal talents to them, making them sound as good as they have in years and contemporising without bastardising them. The album highlight comes towards the end with a stunning live version of 'O Holy Night' where Mariah shows off the full power of her set of lungs. If you needed a further glazed cherry on top, a close second is the "extra festive" version of 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' which now comes equipped with a plethora of sleigh bells making it so unashamedly festive that you can practically smell the mince pies and hear the family arguments. Merry Christmas II You certainly won't appeal to anyone whose first thought of Christmas is "bah humbug", but it's a decent enough alternative to the millionth outing of Slade, Wizzard et al to get you into the Yuletide spirit.



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