As I wind down from a wonderful dinner with my crazy family and a couple of great friends, I wanted to take a look at a new Christmas album from an artist who has a history of doing the classics right. Michael has talent, that's for sure. He's brought back the old hits to a new generation, and I most definitely can respect him for that. He's also been able to throw in a few of his own originals in the same style and has managed to make a great splash with all of them. "Everything" is one of my personal favorite songs, for instance.
Here's a cute little trailer for the album itself to get you warmed up. Don't get creeped out by him staring at the camera every freaking time he sings. Also, Michael, shave your face. I'd love you more (if that's possible). :)
We kick things off appropriately with "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas." I think this is a great opener for the season, and hence appropriate for the album itself. And Michael has the perfect voice for this to bring us into the music of the season. It's not one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, mostly because I read too much into it, and feel like it's only right for like, the first week after Thanksgiving. But really, lovely job.
"Santa Clause Is Coming To Town" is up next, and look - if it ain't Springsteen, don't try to pass it off to me in any other way. In fact, as a holiday gift to you and yours, here's a treat - Bruce and the E-Street Band, instead of Michael and his big band background, filmed in Red Bank, NJ!
Okay, moving on to another song now, promise! The Puppini Sisters come on the next track, "Jingle Bells," and it's really a great throwback number to the old Andrews Sisters days. It's really a cute take on the song itself. I'm not very in to the swing sound unless I'm out to dance to it (yup, used to do that a few years back on Saturday nights!), but I give him props for this arrangement!
"White Christmas" is next, and I just worked on this musical a few weeks ago, so I know the song all too well. It's got that "do do, dododo" background, which makes it a little different and more upbeat. You know exactly the feel I'm talking about. Don't deny it. Oh, and btw - Michael doesn't do the falsetto part in this. Shania-flippin'-Twain came on for it. Ah, I never get sick of her voice. She was my favorite in the Shania vs. Faith debate, and I still love her airyness full of love, despite the fact I actually do enjoy the more slowed-down version of this one.
I have two seemingly theme songs this year, both of which Michael takes on in this album, and this is the first - "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Here's a video on his take on the arrangement that I think is really enlightening to the process:
"Holly Jolly Christmas" is up next, and he puts in this little country guitar solo that I did not expect, but I like it. I mean, I wouldn't turn it off it came on the radio. It's just never been a favorite, but that sort of feeling isn't one that makes for easy reviewing of Christmas albums.
"Santa Baby," sung by a guy, makes me even more uneasy than a girl's version. He calls him "buddy" and changes up what he wants to fit a guy's wish list. It's a cute adaptation. Gotta say though, something doesn't mesh with Michael Buble singing "think of all the hotties I haven't kissed." Still not on my top list of great Christmas tracks, like, ever.
This next one is one of my favorite Christmas songs ever - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and Michael does it right. That crooner voice and the full orchestra backing makes it sound like a classic immediately, even if it was recorded this year. Here's some studio insight:
"Christmas [Baby Please Come Home]"
"Silent Night" comes to us next. I don't like the brass at the start, but I do like the sound of his voice taking this one on. It's very relaxing. There's something missing in the feeling for it though. I think I'm used to hearing this in church, and there's purpose behind it there. This just feels like a nicely done recording. And there are kids.
Remember when I said 2 songs were my themes for this year? "Blue Christmas" is next and the second song. Yup, my heart's a little sad this Christmas. However, this adaptation of the song is not sad on bit. It's got the Louisiana feel, which isn't bad, but not how the mood of the song generally works. It almost feels sarcastic.
"Cold December Night" is the one and only original song on here, and it's really a sweet one. It's got a cute beat with sweet lyrics. It's not a fantastic Christmas song, but most new ones take time to catch on. It's got the Buble feel though, and he just sounds great, as always.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" is another classic, and it's definitely got the right tone and feel for the song. It's got a longing without being depressing, and his voice brings a hopefulness that's entirely necessary for the song itself. It's gentle and lovely and already in line with the best classics.
An amazingly beautiful song comes next, "Ave Maria." Any truly great singer can hit this out of the park, and Michael is no exception. He does so with a simple classical guitar backing him mainly, with a light string section behind that. Yes, it's actually more perfect for church than my stereo, but it's strikingly beautiful.
Okay, and we're ending with... "Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad," done as a duet with Thalia. Okay. Um. Okay. No lie, not one of my favorite Christmas songs, and kind of cheesy in my head to end with for an entire album. These voices are fabulous, but these songs are blah.
- "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Christmas [Baby Please Come Home" - Spotify, YouTube
I know, I was a little surprised at myself too. But really, these are the only ones I could continually listen to. While the album is good as a whole, and around the holidays I wouldn't mind it on a playlist (lord knows Starbucks has kept this entire album in heavy rotation the past month), I just don't love his selection of songs for the whole thing.
He did say something that struck me in the opening video. He made a mention of how amazing this holiday is - that he still feels the same way as he did when he was 8 years old. I don't know about all y'all, but I know that feeling. This holiday is absolute magic in the world. I hope everyone is sleeping well and loved tonight.
And as a present to you all:
Get it, Carrie Fischer.
Oh, and as I end this, Santa is crossing into Roswell, New Mexico, USA. How appropriate!
Yes, got kind fo random in this post, but it was fun!! Feel free to comment below on absolutely anything I've shared tonight. :)