Every year, the arrival of November brings an influx of Christmas albums from a range of current artists, washed up stars and television personalities. Often cynically perceived as an attempt to cash in on the Christmas season, each year they appear to grow exponentially with anybody who fancies a pop doing so. Over the past five years, Michael Buble, CeeLo Green, Rod Stewart and hell, even John Travolta and Olivia Newton John have all given it a crack to mixed response. This year, it’s the turn of the Princess of Pop – Miss Kylie Minogue.
‘Kylie Christmas’ was always going to be an album subject to taste. It was never going to be the most credible of albums, yet somehow its camp, cheesy demeanour still surpasses expectations. An amalgamation of classic standards, big pop hits and the odd original track, it is well balanced but delivers mixed results.
Unsurprisingly, pizazz is present from the outset; it fizzes through the big band instrumentation of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and continues during note for note covers of “Winter Wonderland” and “Let It Snow.” The predictable inclusion of the flirty “Santa Baby” is perfectly matched to Minogue as is “I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter”. Whilst they avoid straying far from the original tracks in term of style, they are faithful covers and work nicely.
Elsewhere, the album begins to buckle in places. Original tracks “Christmas Isn’t Christmas ‘Til You Get Here” and “White December” utilise the Motown ’60’s sound Mariah Carey captured so perfectly on “All I Want For Christmas Is You” but not quite to the same effect. They are both enjoyable, catchy tracks but are unlikely to become the next big Christmas standards. “2000 Miles” and “Only You” (a duet with James Corden) are both soaked in reverberation and sentimentality and fail to regain the original versions essence. Corden’s vocals are a revelation, however and are surprisingly sturdy. It is ‘Christmas Wrapping’, a cover of The Waitresses’ 1981 track, which is the worst offender, however and strays dangerously close to the Stock-Aitken-Waterman days. Featuring bizarre spoken contributions from Iggy Pop, what was presumably recorded as a ‘bit of fun’ has the adverse effect and is actually somewhat creepy, particularly when Iggy Pop begins growling “Merry Christmas” in the final minute. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is also a mediocre interpretation which fails to capture the magic of the original.
Whilst “Everyday’s Like Christmas”, penned by Coldplay’s Chris Martin, is more or less ‘Liva La Vida’ recycled with additional shimmering instruments and modified lyrics, it is an enchanting, jittery synthpop track and is certainly a stand-out moment on the album.
Despite it being sugar-coated in over-production and cheesy-pop, ‘Kylie Christmas’ is a fun affair which successfully captures the spirit of Christmas.
An album which is the epitome of Christmas – extravagant, intolerable in places but a whole lot of fun.
- Rating: 3/5.
- Check Out: Santa Claus is Coming to Town (with Frank Sinatra), Everyday’s Like Christmas, Let it Snow, Santa Baby.
Kylie Christmas is available now on Parlophone/Warner Bros records.