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Melodic Stocking Stuffers
Claire Marsden

Troubled British star Amy Winehouse is one person who will gladly say goodbye to 2008. It has been a turbulent year for this soul diva. Having your name and face on every magazine and newspaper cover should be every star’s dream but not when it is to document a fall from grace. Her heightened drug addiction, her husband in prison, and her extreme weight loss have shocked many. Although her looks and festival appearances have been terrifyingly awful, nothing can take away from her talent as a singer. If you know of someone who does not have her 2006 album Back to Black, it would make the perfect Christmas gift. Her music is reminiscent of that of her idol Nina Simone but has an edginess that links easily with her hardened, excessive party image.

Across the waters, another young veteran of the music industry has struggled with her public image. After a devastating performance at the 2007 MTV Music Awards — a drunken display that nearly destroyed the career it should have reignited — and a number of bizarre stories of depression, hairstyles, and mothering skills, it looked like Britney Spears was on her way out. However, in the latter part of 2008, Spears surprised us all with a remarkable comeback — releasing her new album, Circus, and winning three MTV awards. Although her music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s hard to argue with her ability to wow fans and to bounce back.

Winning MTV awards is about the only thing that Dima Bilan has in common with the two stars above. This Russian celebrity leads a sober life and divides his time among touring, producing albums (his newest album, Against the Rules, is recorded in Russian, Spanish, and English versions) and charitable work. It has been a good year for Bilan, and his success looks to soar as he goes into 2009. Thanks to his 2008 Eurovision Contest-winning song, Believe, we can look forward to the spring, when Russia will take its turn as Eurovision host — yikes!


Amy Winehouse
Frank (2003)
Back to Black (2006)

Britney Spears
...Baby One More Time (1999)
Oops!...I Did It Again (2000)
Britney (2001)
In the Zone (2003)
Blackout (2007)
Circus (2008)

Dima Bilan
I’m a Night Hooligan (2003)
Between the Sky and Heaven (2004)
Time is a River (2006)
Against the Rules (2008)

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