VAR­I­OUS ARTISTS A Very Spe­cial Christ­mas, 7 (AM Records)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

When artists of any kind get to­gether to cre­ate a project that will ben­e­fit the Spe­cial Olympics, you should cut them some slack if the fruit of their en­deav­ors is a lit­tle spoiled. The best way to ap­proach A Very Spe­cial Christ­mas, 7 is to pre­tend you are sort­ing through a bar­rel of ap­ples with the ex­pec­ta­tion of com­ing up with some good, some bad, and some in-be­tween of­fer­ings. In some cases, the work is clean and to the point, as with Car­rie Un­der­wood’s “Hark! The Her­ald Angels Sing.” Leighton Meester’s take on “Christ­mas (Baby Please Come Home)” is catchy and less clut­tered with angst than U2’s ver­sion some years back. Kel­lie Pick­ler’s “Santa Baby” lacks the or­gias­tic oomph that Eartha Kitt gave it, but it’s ser­vice­able enough, and Pick­ler seems to be hav­ing fun with the lyrics. Other tunes — Mi­ley Cyrus’ (as Han­nah Mon­tana) do­ing “Rockin’ Around the Christ­mas Tree” and Mitchel Musso’s “Jin­gle Bell Rock” may make you want to deck the artists rather than the halls. Some songs sound like the Rat Pack on acid; oth­ers play with the sort of bounce you’d ex­pect from a jeep without shocks. But Glo­ri­ana’s “Si­lent Night,” which closes the al­bum, packs a wal­lop with spir­i­tual sim­plic­ity. Per­formed by to­day’s young pop artists and aimed at their fans, this may make a nice stock­ing stuffer for teen girls. — Robert Nott

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