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Martina McBride

It's the Holiday Season – 2018 (Broken Bow)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Martina McBride

Martina McBride's second holiday album is called "It's the Holiday Season," and some of this album was tracked at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. So, as you might expect, this music is a throwback to the kinds of albums The Rat Pack (and their contemporaries) once recorded at that same studio mostly in the '60s. McBride's version of "Winter Wonderland" is representative of the sort of music she's recorded for this project. It features a full string section, horns and a backing chorus.

This is also a distinctly secular offering. Jesus never gets name-dropped, although Frosty, Rudolph and, of course, Santa Claus are all saluted in song. It's not the songs alone that will draw you to this project, but McBride's bell-clear singing voice will - as always - get your immediate attention. Every song on this project has been recorded more times than any sane person would/could count. There are no new songs or song choice surprises. McBride has a strong and sweet singing voice, which brings an angelic glow to everything she vocalizes, including these overly familiar songs.

The downside to McBride's stylistic choices for these songs, though, is that they all sound pretty much the same. Once you've heard a holiday song done in a jazzy, swingy arrangement, you've pretty much heard 'em all. The emotional tone is also limited by this overwhelmingly bright sonic platform. Only McBride's relatively subdued go at "My Favorite Things" adds some much-needed variety.

"It's the Holiday Season" is highly polished production that quickly begins to fade into the background with repeated listening.