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15 Latest Christmas Albums for 2022

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Vivian Green and her co-producer, Kwame Holland, wrote 4 of the five songs on her EP “Spread the Love.” Togetherness (and absence) is on her mind in all of them. She’s eagerly anticipating it within the Motown-meets-reggae “Spread the Love (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza)” and within the hand-clapping, pointillistic “Everybody’s Gathered.” And she or he bemoans being separated — even by her own selections — within the torchy “Across the Tree” and within the tinkling march “No Holiday.” Whether she’s convivial or lonely, she’s all the time got eager backing vocals for company. PARELES

The vacations arrive with loads of twang and reverb on Chris Isaak’s suavely retro “Everybody Knows It’s Christmas.” Isaak wrote a lot of the songs, offering a bit comedy (“Almost Christmas,” about last-minute shopping, and “Help Me Baby Jesus,” a couple of plastic yard display) and a few convincing lonely-guy melancholy (“Holiday Blues,” “Wrapping Presents for Myself” and “Christmas Comes But Once a Yr”). The sound harks back to Nineteen Fifties country and rockabilly, with Isaak’s voice echoing Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and, in a big-finish “O Holy Night,” Elvis Presley, completing a slyly poised period piece of an album. PARELES

Alicia Keys brings her coziest voice to the largely secular songs on “Santa Baby.” Her delivery is high, breathy and playful, and she or he allows herself to point out scratches and imperfections. The productions often tuck elaborate arrangements under a low-fi veneer, like her version of “The Christmas Song,” which begins as a piano-and-voice, mistakes-and-all version and suddenly sprouts strings and voices. The album touches on old-school soul — her gospelly, tear-spattered versions of “Please Be Home for Christmas” — in addition to the willful eccentricity of “My Favorite Things,” which has modal-jazz piano chords, a wordless version of the Rodgers melody and spoken words about favorite things like “feeling so good, we drama-free.” 4 songs of her own — including a reprise of “Not Even the King” from “Girl on Fire” — are about longing and affection, and she or he radiates fondness in “December Back 2 June” and “You Don’t Must Be Alone.” Throughout the album, she invites family members closer. PARELES

The brothers Nelson approach “O Come All Ye Faithful” with a pair of billy clubs, beating upon each syllable as if playing a mirthless game of Whac-a-Mole. Not all of this holiday collection is so violent — it features a handful of shimmery tracks from their elders, father Ricky and grandfather Ozzie; and in addition a soothing “This Christmas,” sung with Carnie and Wendy Wilson, Brian’s daughters. The Nelson brothers’ tackle “Blue Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” are calmly comforting, but Lord, please protect “Away in a Manger” and “Mele Kelikimaka.” CARAMANICA

The gentleman country kingpin Thomas Rhett is Nashville’s MVP of singing inside the lines. And he may need gotten away with it on this EP, his first Christmas collection in a decade-plus profession. But on “Winter Wonderland,” he’s nudged along by a horn section that’s more curious than he’s. And should you detect a touch of ambition on “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Yr,” possibly it’s since the band simply won’t stop rejoicing, so what’s he got to lose? CARAMANICA

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