Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red – review

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Nothing says Yuletide more emphatically than an American A-lister ripping into seasonal standards with the dial cranked to "joyous".

Kelly Clarkson, though, has learned from the many imitations spawned by Mariah Carey's 1994 blockbuster, Merry Christmas, and her first Christmas album is a little more nuanced.

The tracklisting is orthodox – classics, new co-writes and one true leftfielder in Imogen Heap's Just for Now – but Clarkson takes the view that Christmas is as much about wistfulness and unfulfilled wishes as it is unbridled joy.

The self-penned title track has her mustering the courage to "risk it all" with someone who may well reject her; on Please Come Home for Christmas, her voice cracks most affectingly on the line "There'll be no more sorrow".

The reverence on Silent Night – a hymnlike three-hander with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood – feels real, but, contrastingly, so does the tipsy jollity on a swing version of My Favorite Things.

Underneath the Tree is a disappointingly obvious copy of Mariah Carey's hysterical All I Want for Christmas Is You, but fails to impair the enjoyment.

Powered by article was written by Caroline Sullivan, for The Guardian on Thursday 28th November 2013 21.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010