Offering earthy, uplifting renditions of holiday classics alongside new, poignant pieces, Melissa Etheridge decks the halls and shakes the walls on her Christmas offering.
A New Thought For Christmas is exactly the type of holiday album you would expect from Melissa Etheridge. It's deep and soulful, yet doesn't deviate from the standard, powerhouse Etheridge formula -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing. She puts the blues into "Blue Christmas" and uses the classic "Gloria" as a basis for "Glorious", soaring vocally with angels heard on high. Even Christmas songs that have been done to death by merry popsters like "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are given a spin that decks the halls and shakes the walls thanks to Etheridge's powerful, emotive voice. It's not all high-emotion, however. There are light-hearted moments sprinkled throughout and you can practically hear the smile and hint of mischief in her gravelly voice on "Merry Christmas Baby".
Alongside tried and true Christmas fare are newer creations meshing blues, rock, soul, and light jazz with Etheridge's voice in fine form. Some of these newer pieces, such as "Light a Light" and "O Night Divine", stretch on too long. Even those with the maximum amount of holiday cheer in their heart will want to hit the bottle of Rock n' Rye after one too many a chorus of the aforementioned. Other new songs nail the sentiment behind A New Thought For Christmas perfectly. Urging people to "ring the bells of change", the disc's most poignant piece, "Ring the Bells" features Melissa dueting alongside musician/activist Salman Ahmad, joyously profound in light of the Barack Obama's impending Presidency. An all-encompassing holiday spirit hangs in the air on A New Thought For Christmas, welcoming everyone around the Yuletide fire regardless of creed so long as there's love in their hearts.