Release Date: Nov 9, 2010
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Vocal, Holiday, Pop/Rock, Pop Idol, Vocal Pop, Holidays
If ever there was an ideal candidate for a holiday album it’s Susan Boyle, the reality TV show contestant who caused a sensation with her pretty, old-fashioned performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” in 2009. If ever there was a genre that calls for old-fashioned prettiness it’s the holiday album, a genre that cares not for the whims of fashion, a genre where predictability is cherished. For the most part, The Gift is indeed predictable in its sound -- a continuation of the glassy, stately march of I Dreamed a Dream -- and songs, relying on carols, not secular seasonal tunes.
Like gifts themselves, Christmas albums shouldn’t be obligations, though they all too often are. And also like gifts, the ones worth receiving and embracing are those that in spite of the familiar structure, find new ways to deliver old thrills. Or even, sometimes, new thrills. Or even more rarely, something not thrilling, but bracing; not all holiday experiences are cheerful.
A predictably comforting affair comprising seasonal standards and classic covers. Natalie Shaw 2010 Susan Boyle is a classic example of the underdog. And she's still in our hearts – now making her second stab at the seasonal charts in the guise of Syco’s Christmas cracker. Flung onto the monitors of billions of YouTube visitors from her West Lothian council flat via Britain’s Got Talent, Boyle’s second album is a predictably comforting affair comprising seasonal standards, classic covers, touching string arrangements and a generous helping of boy-choirs.