For me, the Christmas season really begins after December 5th. This is when radio stations turn into Christmas stations and it’s publicly accepted to hang up your Christmas decorations. So, today was the day, I finally allowed myself to listen to Kylie Minogue’s “Christmas” album.
Of course, I’d already taken a sneak peek at the videos that she’s released, “Only You” (with James Corden), “100 Degrees” (with sister Dannii Minogue), “Every Day Is Like Christmas” and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”. I loved the original songs, but was not too impressed with the covers.
It’s always difficult when an artist picks the most popular Christmas songs to cover. I’ve had many Christmases already and have built up quite a list of Christmas favorites that I love for nostalgic reasons. It’s not Christmas without them and it’s dangerous to embark on covering them, even if you are Kylie Minogue.
So, I’ll forgive her her “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”, which I’ll continue to play in the version of Andy Williams as well as “Santa Baby”, which I’ve granted her forgiveness for for many years. The track was released years ago, but I’ve always felt no one can beat Madonna’s version.
I was worried that her Christmas album was going to be really cheesy, but she’s managed to find a good balance between humor, nostalgia and even some of her sexiness. I had expected that the album could slightly resemble the Abbey Road Sessions album, which already contains a lot of Christmassy strings, but her Christmas album is very cheerful.
In fact, it sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a wonderful soppy Christmas movie, so yes, you do have to like the soft side to Christmas in order to like this album. It’s a mix of ballads, mid- and up-tempo tracks, but most have an ultra sweet sound to it.
The intro to “2000 Miles”, originally by the Pretenders, even reminds me of a 90s ballad produced by Walter Afanasieff. “Christmas Wrapping” with Iggy Pop is just a fun track. Iggy’s contribution is a minimum though. My favorite duet on the album is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with Frank Sinatra, because Frank Sinatra has to be played around Christmas anyway. “Oh Santa”, available on the Deluxe version, is a jazzy big band track, that reminded me of “Fever” in the beginning, but gets completely blown out by “Cried Out Christmas”.
Her original Christmas songs are the ones I like best. They are mostly cheerful and uplifting. But, because she stayed true to many original versions of existing Christmas songs, I can definitely imagine this Christmas album getting played by me every year.