As his new album love peaks at UK Number One in the charts, the same question asked by so many people around this time of year arises once again. Can Michael Bublé only do Christmas songs? For years now, his ballads and Christmas covers have become a staple of this winter celebration, but the Santa-like character we see in his December appearances calls into question his ability and success as a non-festive singer. Frequenting the top of the UK charts three times previously, it is no surprise he has taken the top spot once more. Why this time is it not a Christmas album that occupies the spot at the top of the tree?
The jazz singer has been warming our hearts in the cold winter weather since he charted in 2003. With the Sinatra-esque standards he applies to his original songs, Bublé is world-renowned for the Christmas songs which provide the perfect accompaniment for the festive spirit in the last month of the year. The album Christmas (2011) is one of the most popular Christmas albums ever, reaching a nine-times platinum certification in the UK. Containing mostly covers, Bublé’s versions of popular Christmas hits became almost synonymous with the build-up to the big day.
In more recent years, further releases of singles or albums sustained his legacy as the jazzy Santa Claus that is due to shower us at the end of the year with gifts – of chart-topping, heart-melting, record-breaking music. This year, as always, Bublé again delivers with gusto.
Bublé, completely aware of his November-December monopoly has released his album love at the perfect time. This does not make it Christmas music, however
Often overlooked is the issue of the Canadian singer’s production methods, which prove difficult to dissect when paired with his songs’ festive contexts. The swing tempo, rhythm, jazz chords, percussion and overall grandeur that his music deploys are all anachronistic to the seventies and so have a different place within music today – indeed, these elements are seen most frequently in the Christmas charts and appear to be rather absent outside of them. Andy Williams’ ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’, Brett Eldredge’s ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ and Tony Bennett’s ‘Winter Wonderland’ are examples of songs beside which Bublé’s music sits nicely.
In order for the ‘Home’ singer to diversify his music, he needs to vary production methods (but, admittedly, not all his songs feature this grand jazz-standard sound). Popular hits such as ‘Everything’ and ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ use acoustic accompaniment to great effect – but these songs have failed to shake off the mistletoe and holly that remain etched into his public image. His newest project love, while not explicitly illustrating any Christmas influences, still manages to grace our ears at the same time as fairy lights are put up in the windows of homes all over the country. The speed at which it rose to the top of the UK charts was startling and yet this is no coincidence.
Bublé, completely aware of his November-December monopoly (in regard to popular music) has released his album at the perfect time. This does not make it Christmas music, however. Too often assumed to be a one-dimensional artist, Bublé has successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of a turkey-stuffed, eggnog-drowned, gift-anticipating nation. His marketing strategy of releasing music, festive or not, in the later months of the year have led to his success as one of the most popular and successful artists in the whole world.
Some songs lack the grandeur Bublé has acquainted us with time and time again, hinting at different influences and a diversified musical repertoire
Songs such as ‘When I Fall In Love’, and ‘Where or When’ take his silky tones and allow us to fall into a warm lull which is so desperately needed in the cold winter months. On the other hand, ‘Such a Night’, ‘When You’re Smiling’ and ‘Help Me Make it Through the Night’ lack the grandeur Bublé has acquainted us with time and time again, hinting at different influences and a diversified musical repertoire – something fans were unsure actually existed.
Starting his tour in 2019, the Canadian crooner will be performing his newly released album to millions of fans after following what has been an incredibly successful marketing strategy that will ensure he has the next thirty or so days in the bag. Michael Bublé is most certainly more versatile than we allow our- selves to believe, yet has allowed preconceived notions about his music’s largely festive nature to boost single and album sales.