Soul Tracks - Tracking the World's Greatest Soul Music

Jean Baylor - Light Up the World

     

Jean Baylor - Light Up the World
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Thank you, Jean Baylor.

Thank you for breaking the R&B Christmas album formula (you know the one: Grab ten overdone holiday classics, sing your own version of Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas" and add one mediocre new track, all the while sounding like the disc was thrown together in 24 hours) by providing an album of all new music on your new EP, Light Up the World.

Thank you for consciously and wonderfully striking the balance between celebration and awe of the day - a feat not accomplished so effectively since Kelly Price's One Family: A Christmas Album.

Thank you for releasing a Christmas album in a season too often dominated by silly "Holiday" albums.

Thank you for bringing aboard indie soul king Eric Roberson on "For Your Love," the third of the three upbeat, joyous songs of the season (along with "Celebrate" and the title track) that frontload the album.

Thank you for the jazzily infectious "Closer."

Thank you for the beautiful, quiet "Praise Song."

Thank you for reminding your old Zhane fans why they fell for you in the first place and letting them know you've still got it.

Thank you for giving us a surprisingly joyful, glorious way to start the Christmas season.

Thank you for the best Christmas album of 2011.

Thank you, Jean Baylor.

Highly recommended.

By Chris Rizik