A Very Special Christmas 3

A Very Special Christmas 3

Various Artists

A & M

It wouldn’t really be Christmas without a star-studded entry in the Hip Alternative Stars Cover Your Fave Holiday Classics category. For the most part, Very Special Christmas 3 does quite well, wringing new life out of tired tunes, and I was actually shocked to find that some of my most-loathed artists — Sheryl Crow, Enya — performed a couple of my favorite tracks on here (“Blue Christmas” and “Silent Night,” respectively). Some others actually go out on a limb, dangle precariously, and make it safely back, such as Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Eleven’s rendition of “Ave Maria,” and Patti Smith’s stunning closer, “We Three Kings” whose atmospheric darkness and half sung, half spoken treatment brings a new level of obeisance to the words of the wise men. Quality stuff.

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