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The Farr Side column: Looking ahead to holiday music releases

David T. Farr
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Miami News Record

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

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If you notice your neighbors hauling out the holly or putting up a Christmas tree, don’t fret. Just smile and nod. They may have a need to be decking the halls a bit early.

This year is unlike any most of us have ever experienced. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on our everyday lives and the divided political nature of our country, people are feeling down, stressed-out and depressed. Psychologists have suggested putting up Christmas decorations might help ease some of the tension. They believe the act of decorating a tree has positive health benefits. Normally, I would be one of the people arguing that Thanksgiving comes first, but I am seeing merit in this idea.

I don’t think people are rushing it this year. I believe they want a little Christmas, right this minute. Don’t you want to see candles in every window? And sing carols at the spinet?

Each year, record companies release a few new holiday albums in hopes that one or two of them will catch on and become seasonal favorites. Maybe somebody will strike gold, as Mariah Carey did with her worldwide smash, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” That song is her biggest single to date (released in 1994) and has become a favorite on the singles chart, year after year.

This year is no exception, despite the craziness we’ve witnessed. Several artists are releasing new Christmas albums. Pentatonix is one such group whose Christmas album releases have become best-sellers. The band’s new release is appropriately titled, “We Need A Little Christmas.” It’s the group’s fifth holiday collection.

I won’t spoil the surprise and give away the full track list, but the group’s beautiful a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace” will blow you away.

Carrie Underwood has the season’s most anticipated holiday release, “My Gift,” a collection of holiday favorites and new tracks.

Underwood’s gorgeous voice embraces the beautiful, peaceful lyrics of “Silent Night,” “Mary, Did You Know?,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Away In A Manger” and “O Holy Night.”

Underwood is joined by her son, Isiah Fisher, for “Little Drummer Boy” and in duet with John Legend for “Hallelujah.”

“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You” is a highlight, but it’s “Let There Be Peace” that truly resonates with me this year. It’s exactly what we need.

Meghan Trainor’s “A Very Trainor Christmas” is a fun mix of holiday cheer. But, honestly, would we expect anything less from her?

Favorites like “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Christmas,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “White Christmas” are good for reminiscing. But new tracks’ “Naughty List,” “Christmas Got Me Blue,” “Christmas Party,” “I Believe In Santa” and “Holiday” will have you jingling your bells.

Other new releases include “A Holly Dolly Christmas” (Dolly Parton), “Social Christmasing” (Straight No Chaser), “The Christmas Album” (Leslie Odom Jr.), “A Tori Kelly Christmas” (Tori Kelly), “It’s Christmas All Over” (Goo Goo Dolls), “The Kasey Musgraves Christmas Show” (Kasey Musgraves) and “A Drummer Boy Christmas” (For King And Country), among others.

David T. Farr can be reached at farrboy@hotmail.com.