Monday, December 19, 2011

MEL's 12 PICKS FOR XMAS: Popstars of Today

Wrapping up this 3-Part Especial, I have a few more of my current faves giving the Christmas Thing a try, for your ears delight. On a side note, do you have snow where you are? Because here in Brooklyn, we sure don't, and for whatever reason, it just doesn't feel like the Holidays without it. Come December 26th, we can be done with it for another year, but until then, I'd like to see a few snowflakes. Just a few... That being said...

LADY GAGA - "White Christmas"
Gaga doing Christmas shouldn't seem as weird as it initially did to me. She's doing the Toyland-inspired "Gaga's Workshop" Christmas Display at Barneys here in New York, after all. The surprise release of A Very Gaga Holiday, a little EP thrown out to iTunes a few weeks back was a spinoff product of her A Very Gaga Thanksgiving holiday special for ABC. It included this lounge-inspired, stripped-down version of Irving Berlin's classic "White Christmas", complete with a fresh second verse penned by Gaga herself. Perhaps since 2011 wasn't quite as Gaga-Saturated as 2010 was, her Christmas bow this year is a little meh to some, but I quite like it. This, along with the other cover on the EP, Nat King Cole's "Orange Colored Sky," helps reiterate just how vocaly talented Stefani Germanotta really is under all the outrageous costumes and extreme fashion choices.

MANIKA - "Santa Baby"
Adorable 17-year-old popstar-in-training Manika (whom I saw live in a private showcase earlier this year) also made a Christmas bow this year, with a one-two punch at iTunes. The selection also included a more guitar-driven cover of "White Christmas," and an age-appropriate version of "Santa Baby" (it's possible).  Manika is currently still working on her upcoming debut record, and recently performed at Paris Hilton's private Christmas Party. Both covers are straight-up pop/rock, perfect for fans of the Disney crowd but enjoyable for all. You can purchase the pair at iTunes or listen at Spotify. There is no music video for "Santa Baby", but there is one for "White Christmas" here.

JADA - "Merry Christmas, Baby"
Ahh, Jada. The fab foursome is easily my favorite American female girl group of the moment and they've yet to dissapointment me in their musical goodies. "Merry Christmas, Baby", their very melismatic cover of the holiday jazz classic (highly reminiscent of Christina Aguilera's cover from 2000), is now available for purchase at iTunes. The rendition plays to Jada's strength -- their vocal capabilities and chemistry as a harmony-based group. We really just don't seen enough of harmonization in music period these days, in my humble opinion. And BONUS GIFT - the group is planning an EP release of original tunes to iTunes in early 2012! You can check out clips at their official website -- Longing for the chance to finally get to see these girls live...

TVXQ! (Tohoshinki) - "Winter Rose"
You just knew I had to throw something KPOP related on here, right? Rather than subject you to SM Entertainment's recent winter release, featuring all of my SM faves including HoMin, Super Junior, BoA, Girls' Generation, f(x) and SHINee singing festive holiday cuts in English (yes, really. SHINee covers Wham!'s "Last Christmas". In English. It really happened. Really. It makes me very, very happy.), I shall instead point you in the direction of this simply gorgeous winter-inspired song from my favorite duet of gorgeous and talented Korean men, sung in Japanese. The song is a bonus gift tacked on their their most recent Japanese single "Duet", off their album Tone (review coming eventually, I promise -- most likely in early 2012).

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