I first heard about this album from a guy called Nick Beatty. He went viral in 2017 on the platform formerly known as Twitter for posting the following: “Disappointed to learn that Kenny Loggins’ Christmas album is called ‘December’ and not ‘Highway To The Manger Zone.’

He ain’t wrong, though the actual title of this 1998 release accurately reflects the mood. This is December music, lots of melancholy, minor-key meditations that are ideal for the short, gloomy days and long, cold nights we get at the end of the year. It’s not for everybody, but I like the bummed-out side of the holiday season, and you have to give Kenny Loggins credit for really committing to this kind of record. It would have been easy for the guy, a dedicated pop craftsman, to just crank out a formula Christmas album, but he made “December” instead.

I chose “Coventry Carol” because it represents the flavor of “December” pretty well, plus Loggins’ backup singers on this one are Graham Nash and the late David Crosby.