Personnel: Onitsha Shaw, Missi Hale, David Loucks, Ravaughn Brown, Jane Lynch, Tim Davis , Kamari Copeland, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Storm Lee, Dianna Agron, Amber Riley, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele , Jenna Ushkowitz, Heather Morris, Jayma Mays, Mark Salling, Naya Rivera, Kala Balch, Jon Hall, Nikki Hassman, Windy Wagner, Matthew Morrison, Adam Anders (vocals); Martin Persson (programming).
Audio Mixer: Peer Astrom.
Recording information: Chalice Studios, Hollywood, CA; Masterplan Studios, Stockholm, Sweden.
Arrangers: Martin Persson; Nikki Hassman; Peer Astrom; Adam Anders.
The Christmas Album is Glee's fifth release in 2010, and the first of two full-length albums to be issued in November alone. Appearing several weeks after another holiday-themed record -- The Rocky Horror Glee Show -- it features a handful of wintertime tunes, from the standard crop of Christmas carols to more secular fare like Frank Loesser's "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and the Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling." Most of the carols are what you'd expect: slick, sentimental, and performed in Glee's familiar Broadway-pop style, with solos by the cast members and backup vocals by a group of unseen professionals. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," on the other hand, melts under the unexpected warmth of Chris Colfer's duet with Darren Criss, who plays Kurt's openly gay love interest. A duet between two male characters -- with lyrics like "Gosh, your lips are delicious," no less -- is a refreshingly risqué move for Fox TV, not to mention a definite album highlight. After all, Glee became popular by pushing boundaries and ignoring convention, so it's reassuring to see the spark still burning. ~ Andrew Leahey