It’s not that easy to take Christmas songs that people are so familiar with and do something to them to make them your own; in fact, many would get upset over any drastic changes to their longtime favorites. With that in mind, Lynne plays it straight here with quiet covers of chestnuts “Silent Night,” “White Christmas,” “O Holy Night” and the appropriately playful “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

It’s also not the easiest thing to introduce new songs to the Christmas canon, but the most interesting cuts on Merry Christmas were penned by Lynne. “Ain’t Nothin’ Like Christmas” sounds like it was inspired by the light jazz of Les Paul and Mary Ford, while “Xmas” is a depressed and spine tingle-inducing look at the holiday season in a broken home, no doubt informed by Lynne’s personal tragedy (Her parents were killed in a murder/suicide when she was young.).

Buried near the end of the album, possibly so as not to bum out the listener from the get-go, “Xmas” is a simmering ’60s-style soul number that recounts presents that never had a chance to be given, the intense loneliness that missing a loved one causes and how those emotions swell on special occasions like Christmas. The song is out of place on this collection, but it’s on a par with Lynne’s best work and, hopefully, it had a cathartic effect for her as well.

Grade: B



Merry Christmas is currently available.