Okay, maybe it’s not for everyone.
A week or so ago I wrote about Annie Lennox’s Christmas album, how intrigued I was. I bought it. Got the last copy in the store. I’ve listened to it several times, most recently during a long car trip with my sister and my husband.
We needed cheering and we had brought tunes, including some new holiday albums.
Of a dozen tracks on A Christmas Cornucopia, I can honestly say only five will make it to my iPod. It’s not the arrangements. They’re original and inventive.
It’s Annie’s voice. What makes her an artist with her own music doesn’t quite seem to work for Christmas. There’s a harshness to the sound. A little too jarring.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe when it comes to Christmas music, I’m more of a traditionalist than I thought.
But wait. There’s Florence K, a young woman from Quebec, and her album, Havana Angels. Also original. Also inventive. Great arrangements. Talented musician. A voice filled with soul. And she’s only 26!
(Aside: if you follow dancing shows on television ((and I do)), you may have noticed the elegant young man dancing in Florence’s video is Francis Lafreniere from So You think you can Dance Canada. I was glad to see him showcased. He’s a wonderful dancer and a true romantic, having proposed to his girlfriend live on the show’s finale. She said yes of course. I mean, who wouldn’t?)
Havana Angels was one of my sister’s contributions to the road trip. She knows music, especially Canadian music. I’m fortunate to know people who regularly introduce me to music and musicians I would likely never find otherwise. Everything on Havana Angels will soon be on my iPod.
So I suppose as far as A Christmas Cornucopia is concerned, it really does come down to Annie herself. It was a valiant effort. And I still really love Universal Child, a song from the album that Annie wrote herself to raise money for HIV/AIDS treatment for mothers and children. This version is from a fundraising performance on American Idol.
This is when Annie Lennox is at her best.