Various-artist holiday compilations are intended to please everyone, but, of course, often have the opposite effect. Your whole family might not love every track on “Now That’s What I Call Today’s Christmas,” but if you wait a song or two, you just might get lucky.
Tweens looking for classic and original holiday tunes to soundtrack their season will likely enjoy peppy contributions from Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Carly Rae Jepsen — who is seeking industrial-strength “Mittens” on her new song. Country fans in the vicinity can get their Christmas twang on with help from Carrie Underwood, Sugarland, and Rascal Flatts. Adult contemporary and pop music lovers can celebrate with Norah Jones, OneRepublic, Sara Bareilles, and Coldplay, whose “Christmas Lights” is the highlight of the disc, evoking the simultaneous brightness and melancholy of the season. Diva lovers will be cheered by Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera, who sounds oddly angry on her dance jam “Christmas Time.” Little monsters will dig Lady Gaga’s live “White Christmas.” Vermonters Grace Potter & the Nocturnals inject a little soul into the proceedings with “Please Come Home for Christmas.”
While the definition of “Today” is a little broad — the Trans-Siberian Orchestra track dates back to 1996, and the Aguilera tune to 2000 — the disc is a representative slice of the contemporary pop scene’s take on the season.