American Idol season five runner-up, Katharine McPhee, may have lost her season to Taylor Hicks, however she walked away with the better voice and poised to launch a still successful career. “Christmas Is The Time…To Say I Love You” is Katharine’s third album, and shows off her incredible voice and love for the holiday season beautifully.
The first track on the album, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a timeless piece that Katharine sings wonderfully. Definitely a must-listen for any Katharine McPhee for or a holiday lover.
The second track, “Jingle Bells,” is one of the few upbeat songs on the album and is definitely a highlight. She sings a different verse than what is typically heard. It must be an original verse of her own, because I can’t find it anywhere. Either way, it’s nice that she was able to add her little flair to the classic and make it her own while still remaining true to the song.
“It’s Not Christmas Without You” is the only completely original song from the album. It’s a sweet Christmas song and very fitting for Katharine. Not a knock-out holiday smash like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but Katharine wasn’t aiming for that with this song. It came naturally, as she’s said in interviews. The song is also the only song to receive a music video (watch below).
Katharine covered “O Holy Night” as the fourth track on the album, and while she sings it beautifully, the song seems to drag a bit. To me, it’s forgettable after the first listen and leaves you waiting for it to be over rather than enjoy it. Although it’s the nature of the song, I think the progress was just way too slow to be memorable.
“Silver Bells” is a cute song. Katharine doesn’t come even close to showing her full vocal abilities on this song–or any of the album’s songs for that matter–she just wants to portray the happy spirit of the season.
The album’s title track is where Katharine really shines on this album. You can tell it’s one of her favorites. The love for this song shines through with her voice and how much of herself that she puts into it. It’s fun and very much a singalong. I would say this is better than the original, however I’m not a fan of the original. Katharine, however, makes me enjoy the song despite me not liking it.
The following song is a medley of “O Little Town of Bethlehem/Away In a Manger.” I like it when artists cover “Away In A Manger,” or even “O Little Town of Bethlehem” because to me, these are incredible holiday classics. I think the main reason artists stay away from these songs is because they don’t want to be too “religious,” however that’s the whole reason for the season! I think artists who cover these songs show that they’re not afraid of what people think of them or their beliefs. They want to express their beliefs regardless of what people think. Anyway, Katharine did a great job incorporating these two songs. Beautiful, although a bit boring at times, but still a classic. I like how she switches between the two songs seamlessly through the whole medley instead of singing most of one song and then switching to do most of another.
Katharine shines as well on “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” She’s bubbly and her voice is rich. I think she throws in another original verse, which is a pleasant surprise yet again. Her vocal capabilities are highlighted a bit more here, but it’s barely the tip of the iceberg. Still a great song, however.
Katharine tackles “White Christmas” next, and following the course of the rest of her album, she does a beautiful take on it. I could definitely picture her singing it as a duet with someone. A male voice. Maybe Andrea Borcelli. That would be something.
The final song in the set is “Who Would Imagine a King.” I’d actually never heard this song before this album. Although I really enjoy it so much. Katharine has so much control to her voice. She brings her own flare to this classic. Amazing.
The album as a whole is a great listen. Maybe more of a soundtrack to your family’s Christmas by playing in the background. This set is beautiful and timeless.
Listen to these: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “It’s Not Christmas Without You,” “Christmas Is The Time,” and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”
“It’s Not Christmas Without You” — Music Video
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — Live