Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This week I'm showcasing submissions that were sent to my P.O. Box and this CD landed there last Friday - talk about great timing.
Pop quiz: Who holds the record for most consecutive Billboard Club #1 hits?
Mariah Carey? Good guess but no. Christina Aguilera? Not even close. Janet Jackson? She once held the record. Madonna? She was tied with Janet (seven in a row). In 2004, the artist you are looking at tied both Madonna and Janet, then broke the record the following year with her club hit "The Wonder of It All".
Kristine W is a fourth generation entertainer originally from Pasco, Washington. She won several titles along the way - Miss Tri-Cities, Miss Washington (where she won first place in the all important talent competition at the Miss America pageant), and eventually ended up in Las Vegas.
She continued her education there, worked harder than anyone else there, and wowed everyone with her amazing singing talent there. This led to headlining her own show at the Las Vegas Hilton, winning several "Las Vegas Entertainer Of The Year" awards.
Earlier this year, Kristine was officially sanctioned as the entertainer who has performed more live shows than anyone in the entire history of the Las Vegas Hilton - this includes Elvis Presley, who called the Hilton home during the 1970s.
This past summer, while recording her new "Power Of Music" album, Kristine wanted to record a Christmas album. She teamed up with Love to Infinity, a noted UK award-winning songwriting and production team, to help record two original Christmas songs written by Kristine ("Everyday's A Holiday" and the title track). She shut down production on her other album to devote all of her energies to this album.
That's what the notes that accompanied this album wanted me to share.
I must admit I am not a huge club / dance type of guy - never have been. Until this arrived in my mailbox, I had absolutely no clue who Kristine W was. I went online to see some of Kristine's videos to get a feel for her type of music:
Flashy, pulsating, quick-cuts. Great vocal quality. I had to shut this down after about 1 minute in.
Still, I haven't heard the CD - which is what I usually try to do whenever I review an album here. Many times as I type, I listen to the album for the first time. It's the only way I can stay objective after writing paragraphs of back story on the person or group I'm reviewing. Soooo...
1.) Mr. Christmas
"Hey Mr. Christmas? Where's my baby?" Cue the massive dance-beat and we're off and running. Despite the lyrics, this is more club than Christmas.
2.) Everyday's A Holiday
I had to check twice to see if this was track one - they almost sound identical. I can envision the club lights and the dance floor - where's the snow? The tinsel? The Christmas?
3.) Hard Candy Christmas
A club version of Dolly Parton's signature Christmas song? Believe it or not, this works!
4.) Oh Holy Night
I was skeptical at first - but Kristine pulls it off. This might be the best track on the album.
5.) Mary, Did You Know?
This standard could have lost something in the translation but the message stays intact - holds up after repeated listenings.
6.) Favorite Things
"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." I don't consider this a Christmas song (while many others do). It's a jazzy version nonetheless.
7.) Wonder Of It All (featuring Jim Brickman)
This is an unplugged remake of one of Kristine's dance hits. Brickman is great (as usual) but Kristine's voice fills the vacated spaces usually filled in by pulsating beats.
I want to like this album and there are several songs that I will to listen to again. There's a lot of energy in this album - most of which comes from the club beats and the multi-layered vocals. Kristine puts every ounce of her soul into these tracks and it comes across like a spotlight in a darkened room.
However, most of the album doesn't work for me - I want a Christmas album to radiate that special spirit that only Christmas songs emote. Most of the spirit found on "O Holy Night" and "Hard Candy Christmas" doesn't come through on the remaining tracks.
This is a club album with a Christmas theme, not a Christmas album with a club theme - big difference.
If you are into club music, then this might be the perfect album to take to your upcoming holiday raves and club nights. This album is available exclusively at Borders Books & Music and will drop on iTunes on Tuesday, December 2nd.
Thanks Kristine for sending the album, congrats on the career, and being a leukemia survivor for five years!