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The Miracle of Christmas

Neil Sedaka

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Album Review

As an old-school, all-purpose musical entertainer, Neil Sedaka seems like a natural for a Christmas album, maybe even more than one, so it's a bit of a surprise that he waited until 2008 to deliver The Miracle of Christmas. Having waited so long, Sedaka decided to make the most of the moment and turn The Miracle of Christmas into two holiday albums in one: a single-disc set containing his versions of standards, and a two-disc deluxe edition containing a disc of new originals. Both of the discs are enjoyable but the collection of new tunes edges out the surprisingly spare — largely piano and voice with just a little synth shading — readings of traditional carols and secular standards because they're livelier in both arrangement and sentiment. On his new tunes, Sedaka dabbles in every kind of holiday tune, ranging from the smoky Sinatra-styled "A Lonely Christmas in New York" to the goofy novelty "Razzle Dazzle Christmas" and hitting every other sound in between, managing to work in his signature bouncy pop in the process on "Love Is Spreading All Over the World" and turning in a good soft rock tune on "A Christmas Prayer." As modern-day holiday albums go, this selection of new tunes is quite strong, but Miracle of Christmas doesn't quite feel modern as the songs are written as if they were meant for Sedaka's Rocket albums of the '70s and are given heavily polished production crafted with synthesizers from the late '80s. This may not make the album feel modern but it's pleasingly out of time and, more importantly, it's true to Sedaka's music — it's sentimental, occasionally surprisingly snarky, always overwhelmingly melodic, and quite a lot of fun.

Biography

Born: 13 March 1939 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer, songwriter, and pianist Neil Sedaka enjoyed two distinct periods of commercial success in two slightly different styles of pop music: first, as a teen pop star in the late '50s and early '60s, then as a singer of more mature pop/rock in the '70s. In both phases, Sedaka, a classically trained pianist, composed the music for his hits, which he sang in a boyish tenor. And throughout, even when his performing career was at a low ebb, he served as a songwriter for other artists, resulting in a...
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The Miracle of Christmas, Neil Sedaka
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