Sound — 7
Susan Boyle surprised everyone when she first walked out on stage to audition for "Britain's Got Talent": the audience, the judges, and music critics alike. The then 47 year old woman entered the stage and wowed the world with her impeccable performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables": a performance which now boasts over 100 million views on YouTube. This was of course only the beginning of a successful solo career. Susan released her debut studio album, appropriately titled "I Dreamed a Dream," which quickly became the best selling debut album of all time in the United Kingdom, and charted at number one in over a dozen different countries. Her debut album was heavily comprised of cover songs of such artists as The Rolling Stones, John Newton and The Monkees, aside from one original composition titled "Who I Was Born to Be." Her performance on her debut quickly earned Susan a Grammy Nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album: a nomination she would similarly receive for her 2010 studio album "The Gift." Since the release of her debut, Susan Boyle has released one studio album a year: 2010's "The Gift," 2011's "Someone to Watch Over Me," and 2012's "Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From the Stage." Her first three albums all peaked at number one in the UK album charts, and her latest effort showed Susan performing two duets with her personal musical idol Donny Osmond and Michael Crawford from "The Phantom of the Opera." Susan Boyle now is returning with her first holiday-themed release, "Home for Christmas." While her debut album included a cover of "Silent Night," this is her first album entirely comprised of holiday covers. Throughout the entire album, Susan stays true to the classic renditions of such Christmas favorites as "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "The Christmas Song." She doesn't go out of her way too much on these new covers, only providing a familiar listening experience backed by a new vocal performance. Just as she previously did with "Standing Ovation," "Home for Christmas" similarly includes two new duets, however are unlike most holiday duets which are recently being issued to radio. The first of the two is a virtual duet with the late Elvis Presley on "O Come, All Ye Faithful," which has the two vocalists trading off on every few lines in the verse, while being backed by a choir during the song's chorus. While the specifics of how this cover was created are not entirely clear, it appears to be using pieces of Presley's original cover of the Christmas classic. Nonetheless, it's still a refreshing take on an iconic song. The second of the two covers shows Susan partnering up with Johnny Mathis on a re-recording of his 1976 hit cover of "When a Child Is Born." There isn't anything which is absolutely revolutionary about this new album, nor is there anything which hasn't been done countless times before, yet it is still a worthwhile listen.
Lyrics — 7
Susan Boyle has an impressive operatic vocal style which adds some additional flair to these new Christmas covers. Of course, the lyrics to these songs remain the same, but her strong execution of these songs helps in the making them that much better. She has enough familiarness to give the original recordings justice, yet enough of her own style to keep things sounding like a Susan Boyle cover.
Overall Impression — 7
With her new Christmas album, Susan Boyle revisits twelve holiday favorites and adds her own unique vocal touches to each one. I can't say this is an incredibly worthwhile album, if you were to go out and add it to your own personal collection you would find fresh, new takes on a number of hailed classics.