Michael Buble put out a killer Christmas record, and it could not have come at a better time. While the charts are currently flooded with dance-pop beats, synthesizers-laden hooks and auto-tuned vocals, Buble releases an album of Christmas standards -- an album so strong Bing Crosby himself could have it playing it on repeat during a holiday dinner with Frank, Nat and Dean.
Don't believe me? Look at the man frolic on the snowy sidewalks in the music video for "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." From the way Buble kicks his heels through the snow to the way he greets passers-by to the way he smugly adjusts his suit jacket, this guy means business. Buble is going to make Christmas music, those standards that you either love to hear on the radio or you immediately flip the station, bearable -- nay, enjoyable -- again. You can't help but wish he was dancing his way to your house to join you and the family for a round of carols.
Buble doesn't need gimmicks, either. A smile, a suit, and some good ol' fashion big band music is enough to make us forget that there are other notable holiday albums out there. Justin who? Mariah who? The only match for Buble's modern-day crooner style is Adele, and she hasn't released a Christmas album (yet).
It's not easy to put a new spin on Christmas classics. Look at Lady Gaga. Not content enough with singing "White Christmas" the way it was originally written, she added a verse -- about a white snowman, of all things. Against Irving Berlin's original lyrics, this new verse sticks out like a sore thumb. But it's a great attempt to personalize the song; kudos to Gaga for making "White Christmas" her own. Likewise, Buble's renditions of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" much like the other thirteen cuts on Christmas, sound very much like songs originally recorded by Buble, not covers. Sure, much recognition goes to the instrumentalists backing Buble, but it takes a real man to carry these tunes, and this man does so with an ease that will make anyone want to sing along -- and that's the measure of a true Christmas cover.
Movers & Shakers: Buble holds ever steady at the top of the Billboard 200 with Christmas. Meanwhile, The Black Keys' El Camino debuted at number two, the duo's highest charting album since forming in 2001. Adele's 21 comes in at number three. Justin Bieber's Christmas release, Under The Mistletoe, which features the singer's newly lowered register, drops a spot this week to number four. Amy Winehouse's posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, debuts at number five, featuring a handful of songs the singer recorded with producer Salaam Remi before her death in July. In its third week on the chart, Rihanna's sixth album, Talk That Talk, continues to fall, dropping from seven to twelve this week.
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On the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, Rihanna proves she's more a singles artist than an album one, as "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris begins its seventh week at the top. The only single to tie this record in 2011 was Adele's "Rolling In The Deep." LMFAO's "Sexy And I Know It" continues to sit at number two, just waiting for "We Found Love" to drop so it can finally claim the top spot. Bruno Mars' whiny Twilight track, "It Will Rain" holds at number three, and Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" climbs five spots this week, moving to number four.
Remix'd: In a somewhat predictable move, Capitol Records has decided to release a remix of Perry's "The One That Got Away" with B.o.B. to further push "The One" to the top of the Hot 100. (The label did the same for "E.T." and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," which feature Kanye West and Missy Elliott, respectively). "The One" remix, which features B.o.B. at the beginning and middle eight of the track, does little but highlight the awkward clunkiness of throwing on a rent-a-rapper like B.o.B. on a pop track, without altering production in any significant way, to claim another number one.
It was a week for throwing rappers on pop songs, as Ke$ha also grabbed a few friends for yet another remix of "Sleazy." This time, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, T.I. and André 3000 (whew!) guest on what sounds more like a rap-off than a featured spot. The rhymes-to-singing ratio favors the rappers on "Sleazy Remix 2.0 - Get Sleazier." Oddly, it works -- because of that massive thumping instrumental. Needless to say, the "Sleazy" remix trumps the remix of "The One That Got Away."