Bad Girls Need Christmas, Too


By Tray Butler

Nostalgia reigns in these six new holiday albums

Mary J. Blige
A Mary Christmas (Verve)

What’s the 411, Mary? The “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” plays it way safe on this solemn collection. Not that we expected Elton John or The Young and the Restless, but just a flash of MJB da MVP might breathe some life into somnambulistic standards like “Silent Night” (a Spanish-language duet with Marc Anthony).

Barbra Streisand and Chris Botti pitch in on “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which isn’t technically a Christmas song, but it might be a miracle cure for insomnia.

The album’s finest moment comes when Blige scat-sings a horn-heavy “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — even if we don’t quite believe her closing exclamation, “That was fun!” Oh, Mary.