It’s that time of the year again, and here I am, listening to my first (new) Holiday album of the season, and this one is a doozy. I have been looking forward to hearing Lea Michele’s ‘Christmas In The City’ since it was announced. Last year, when I was searching for versions of ‘Merry Christmas Darling’ on Spotify, I chanced upon her version from her Glee days, and it became an instant favorite. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. She has chops of steel, as we all know, and since she is from musical theater, I know she will being a certain theatricality to the songs. And true enough, even though we have heard these songs so many times, I still found a lot of new things in her interpretations. A carol as ubiquitous as ‘Silent Night’ made me weep from her choral infused version. And I love the not-s-obvious choices, like ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman,’ from Frozen, and ‘Christmas In New York’ which is a Holiday Valentine to New York City – it’s a catchy song and captures the joyous spirit of the city during the Holidays. Her duets here are curious choices – a well-blended ‘White Christmas’ with Darren Criss is fine, but a country-tinged arrangement of ‘I’ll be Home For Christmas’ with Jonathan Groff lacked energy. The pairing with Cynthia Errivo in ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ was a little underwhelming compared to the promise of what it could have been. But there are enough great tracks here to make this a staple on my Christmas playlist.