“Honestly,” a melancholic ballad that would turn to schmaltz in the hands of a less capable singer, shows the full range of Miss Clarkson’s vocals, running the gamut from breathy low notes to a skyscraper descant. Like an actor who plays multiple characters during the same production, she slips into various guises throughout the rest of the tracklist: a pop star on “Mr. Know It All,” a rocker on “I Forgive You” and a diva scorned on “You Love Me,” which may be the catchiest tune here. She’s thoroughly convincing in each role, proof that it’ll take more than a mixed bag of producers to push this American Idol off her pedestal.
A Very She & Him Christmas
She & Him
With a mix of retro-hip charm and cheeky cheesiness, She & Him tackle 12 holiday favorites on this Christmas album, which recalls similar holiday offerings from the Carpenters and the Beach Boys.
For the most part, “A Very She & Him Christmas” is a predictable affair, mixing familiar classics like “Sleigh Ride” with slapback echo, heavy reverb and other studio tricks that recall the 1960s. The highlights arrive whenever the band goes off-course. “Silver Bells” is performed as a sparse ukulele ballad, and She & Him jazz up “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by flipping the usual male/female roles, a move that turns Zooey Deschanel into the confident seductress and M. Ward into the reluctant seductee.
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