A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Yes, Jessica Simpson is overexposed. But tween girls love her, and this CD may help your kids get in the holiday mood. It's better than listening to them complain about how you listen to those old guys Nat King Cole and Gene Autry. Simpson's voice, pep, and sincere sweetness have always been her strong points, and this is a natural outlet.
Is it any good?
Some of the arrangements can be irritating, with Vegas-style glitz inserted into some of the classics. Making "O Holy Night" into a slow jam didn't work as well as she wanted, but nevertheless gives a contemporary spin that might connect well with younger family members. Her duet with ex-husband Nick Lachey on "Baby It's Cold Outside," is too cute, but also offers a full, more understated voice to Simpson's occasional lack of subtlety.
The CD's other duet, "The Little Drummer Boy," features Simpson's sister Ashlee doing little more than offering a lower harmony, while Jessica turns it into an epic. She does that quite often, going from breathy little girl to power-diva in "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." Not bad, but she seems to have something to prove vocally on songs that don't always lend themselves to the approach. But it's the holidays, and some of the brassy arrangements, coupled with Simpson's abilities will appeal to kids and help keep this CD in the family collection well after this year.