Leona Lewis, who made waves with “Bleeding Love” a few years back after winning the third season of the U.K. version of “The X Factor,” is back with a new Christmas album thanks to Simon Cowell’s label. “Christmas With Love” is a serious throwback album, but that’s part of what makes it fun.
The album is a clear throwback to the Phil Spector “wall of sound” feel of the early 1960s, and when comparing tracks to their original arrangements on the Spector classic “A Christmas Gift for You,” released exactly 50 years prior, it’s obvious listening to the arrangements of songs like “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” above, that it pays proper homage to the originals. The wall of sound production has the potential to overtake a singer, but Lewis is in fine form here, carrying her weight to make the whole package work together. Similar to Reina’s version mentioned Tuesday, her version doesn’t quite hold up to the Darlene Love version, but it is certainly a well-sung take.
There are three original songs on the album, including “One More Sleep,” seen above. They blend well with the others, although the treatments of the classics are the main draw in this case. My other main favorite on this album is “Winter Wonderland,” another song featured on the Spector album, and “I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday.”
This is a good format for Lewis, and a nice throwback album that holds up well on repeated listens. For those looking for a classic feel to their Christmas music, this pairs nicely with The Puppini Sisters.