Andrea Bocelli, "My Christmas"

Album Review
3
<p>It's difficult to know which of <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/andrea-bocelli/118751">Andrea Bocelli</a>'s duet partners on his first holiday album, "My Christmas," makes for the most unlikely match with the Italian pop-classical crooner. There's <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/mary-j-blige/43746">Mary J. Blige</a>, who bends the melody of "What Child Is This" into new R&amp;B shapes. There's also <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/reba-mcentire/2434">Reba McEntire</a>, next to whom Bocelli couldn't sound less down-home, in a gently swinging version of "Blue Christmas." Of course, neither of those stars usually work in children's venues, nor are they made of felt-both of which are the case with the Muppets, who show up for "Jingle Bells." (More characteristic guests on the set include <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/natalie-cole/4329">Natalie Cole</a>, <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/katherine-jenkins/656711">Katherine Jenkins</a> and the <a href="http://www.billboard.com/artist/mormon-tabernacle-choir/23722"> Mormon Tabernacle Choir</a>.) Though there's no shortage of starchy church-service fare ("Angels We Have Heard on High," "Adeste Fideles"), much of "My Christmas" seems intended to show off Bocelli's previously disguised playfulness. That doesn't mean it's terribly playful-his version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" doesn't contain a drop of wit. But isn't it nice to hear the big guy try?-Mikael Wood</p>