Record review: Leona Lewis – Christmas, With Love (2013, LP)

Leona Lewis

Wow, Noddy Holder must really be quaking in his boots. The Slade frontman has more and more competition every year for the title of most-played Christmas song, with close to a dozen major artists taking a stab at the dying art this year. Leona Lewis isn’t going to trouble the ’70s legend with this substance-light ten-song collection of festive standards though, and you have to wonder why one of the most successful former X-Factor winners is lowering herself to make such a crappy record. Then you realise which record company she’s signed to, and the unmistakable whiff of Simon Cowell becomes as clear as day (Lewis is signed to the mogul’s Syco label); it’s easy to imagine him looking at the Christmas charts with glowing dollar signs in his eyes. Lewis has a strong and soulful voice, but listening to the cheesy schmaltz on this album made me want to tear down the tree, set fire to the tinsel, drop-kick the turkey off the balcony and cancel Christmas forever. Opener ‘One More Sleep’ is a dire start and probably the low point of the album, while ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘White Christmas’ are almost as painful but at least allow Lewis to flaunt her impressive vocal range. ‘O Holy Night’ makes a slight improvement, but then the horror of ‘Ave Maria’ drags the record back into the gutter. Perhaps Christmas albums shouldn’t be taken seriously, but this one is just another piece of evidence in the case against television talent shows. (Syco/RCA)

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