As soon as I saw Band Aid II listed here, I knew that I had to buy this CD. I have never seen their version of Do they know it's Christmas? on a multi-artist compilation before. It was released as a single in 1989, but compilations always included the original Band Aid version, if they included the song at all. That version is the best, but while more recent compilations have sometimes featured Band Aid 20, Band Aid II remained elusive. So I was pleased to have that track, but what about the rest of the CD? It's better than I expected.
There are some oldies that are very familiar to the British public. Slade, Elton John, the Beach Boys and Abba are all here performing the songs they are associated with at Christmas time. The Jackson 5, the Supremes and the Temptations are all represented with covers of familiar songs, and most people seem not to mind that these are covers.
The remaining tracks are more recently recorded, their copyright dates ranging from 1999 to 2008. As far as I am aware, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, The Feeling, S Club 7, Blink-182 and Gabriella Cilma all perform original songs, but I'm sure somebody will tell me if I'm wrong :-) I particularly liked Blink-182's song, I won't be home for Christmas, but they are all worth a listen.
The remaining songs are covers. I don't suppose most people will mind Deck the halls, Hark the herald angels sing or Jingle bell rock because, like the featured Motown covers, the originals are quite old. However, I love the covers of I wish it could be Christmas everyday (Girls aloud), Santa baby (Pussycat dolls) and Last Christmas (Cascada). They may not be quite as good as the originals (by Wizzard, Eartha Kitt and Wham respectively) but they are not far behind and make a refreshing change from the originals whenever the mood takes. The covers of All I want for Christmas and Fairytale of New York are weaker, but the title of this album implies that this is music for parties. Will anybody really mind that much who sings what if they are drinking and dancing the night away?
For anybody seeking Christmas music with a more contemporary sound, this might be a good choice.