Various Artists : Platinum Christmas

It's with some disappointment that NMEPOP.COM must reveal some bad news: some of the songs are big old turkeys...

Various Artists : Platinum Christmas

6 / 10 From trainers to decent films, Americans get everything before us here in the UK. Well, the concept of the Christmas album is also a little further advanced in the States than it is in Britain (remember 'Christmas On Death Row'?), and 'Platinum Christmas' does an impressive job of pulling together some of the biggest stars in the world in order to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Among the celebs wrapping presents here we have Britney, *N Sync, Christina, Steps, Backstreet Boys, TLC, Toni Braxton, R Kelly and Whitney Houston, so it's with some disappointment that NMEPOP.COM must reveal some bad news: some of the songs are big old turkeys.

Santana's 'Posanda', while instrumental, is as you might expect almost unbearably awful, while *N Sync's 'I Don't Want To Spend One More Christmas Without You' (presumably 'you' is something like a turkey) is, in spite of it's lengthy title, Not Up To Much.

But this is the season of goodwill, after all. Let's look to the best bits: some acts take amazing liberties with the classics - the three wise ladies of TLC's take on 'Sleigh Ride' is particularly innovative, while Eminem's mate Dido turns up with 'Christmas Day'.

Steps' contribution will already be familiar to fans who've seen them on their current Christmas tour: yes, it's the definitive cover of Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody', recorded without the aid of a qualified musicologist. There are three reasons why this is ace: firstly it's Steps, secondly it was a Slade song in the first place, and therefore up for being revamped in a berserk pop style, and thirdly - hoorah! - it's Christmas.

And there we have it.

Peter Robinson

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