Cocoa is such a tradition it’s shorthand allusively to aw dear skwooshy squishy emo. Alisha Merrick is a nice sing-maker, but first and foremost she’s a missus and a mommy. Get treacly romantic with her “Cocoa and Kisses.” Works for me: I’d make all my friends listen to it, if i were the guy (if i had friends).
“Hot Chocolate” gets some play from that ‘Polar Express’ movie. Everything about it horrifies me. A nice calypso turn from Janess Sifers creates a “Hot Chocolate” that would better fit into a big biz show musical. Me, i’m more into edumusical pounding like you find in Brian Kinder’s “Hot Chocolate.” Earnest but questionable talent sells these maudlin values.
For the verisimilitude you’ve been yearning for, Tami Trisoliere blue grasses her “Cocoa Christmas” with a violin that feels like slippers, guitar like a fireplace, and a her own contralto like a fluffy plush robe. Ahhhhh.