Joy to the World
Fans of Faith Hill who have been waiting for her to deliver an album of Yuletide carols may be slightly disappointed at first to learn that there is nary a hint of country twang in this album. But after listening to the grandiose orchestral production of the opening "Joy To The World" with Hill's heavenly voice floating over the arrangements like an angel resting atop a Christmas tree, chances are you'll hardly long for fiddles and pedal steel. Not all songs here are as formal as the title track. "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" gets a swinging, retro, big band treatment that would've inspired Dean Martin to sip eggnog from a martini glass and the playful "Holly Jolly Christmas" goes well with any of those old school, claymation, Christmas cartoons that come around once a year. "Away In A Manger" finds Hill inflecting with a pious reverence that makes for one of her best vocal performances ever. The moving ballad "A Baby Changes Everything" is the jewel in the crown of the album — it's not only the sole original song here, but it was written by hit makers Nichols and Wiseman, who also penned "Live Like You Were Dying" for her hubby Tim McGraw.