For me, it isn't the Christmas season until I listen to Straight No Chaser. Last year I included their Holiday Spirits album in my New Tunes Tuesday Christmas Edition. And this year, I add another of their albums... Under the Influence: Holiday Edition.
It's eight tracks long in which four of the tracks include a guest singer. First they pair with Colbie Caillat on Every Day Is Christmas. It's a romantic ballad about how everyday seems like a holiday when they're with their lover. The blend is nice, and I really like the bridge, but it's a little too sticky sweet for my taste.
But the tracks keep getting better.... Next is CeeLo Green on White Christmas. I love the arrangement on this track. The doo wop beat is catchy and bouncy. CeeLo provides a nice lead vocal and makes it sound very current.
Merry Christmas Baby with Otis Redding is soooo smooth with a rocking beat. His vocal provides a unique twist on the album while Straight No Chaser is solidly in the background. This is my favorite track on the album by far.
Wonderful Christmastime with Sir Paul McCartney is safe and predictable. His voice just seems to disappear in the mix and the arrangement is very unoriginal.
The last four are original songs by the group. Home By Christmas Day and Song for Santa are excellent tracks for the a capella fan. Their sound is full and balanced, but they're really not very original. They do show their quirky and creative side with Nutcracker however. They lament attending the boring ballet instead of watching the game. "Guess I'm a guy what can I say. I'd rather watch football than ballet!" It's quite funny (and guys, I can relate!)
They wrap up the album with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. It starts out slow then picks up with a really fun groove. A few key changes and an amazing lead vocal make it interesting.
Overall, not their "best" holiday album, but one I will listen to often. I'm a big fan of a capella bands (have I mentioned that?) and the men of Straight No Chaser do it well.