Review – Wilde winter songbook

The largest festive audience Kim Wilde has played to lately was the 2 million-plus people who watched a YouTube video of her performing “refreshed” versions of Kids in America and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree on a London train last December. Evidently encouraged by the response, she’s now made her first Christmas album, a warm, conventional affair that’s the aural equivalent of a reindeer jumper. And conventional it is: she may be the only singer capable of transforming Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal (sung with brother Ricky and dad Marty) into a gather-round-the-Aga singalong. Similarly, a cover of Bareilles and Michaelson’s bleak Winter Song is freighted with the sentimentality of a John Lewis ad. Yet it would be awful if it were any other way. Wilde’s purpose with this album is to spread joy, and she goes about it with relish. And a duet with a startlingly avuncular Rick Astley on Winter Wonderland is unadulterated charm.