Michael Bublé, Christmas
Beginning this list is the king of Christmas himself… not Jesus or King Herod, but Michael Bublé. His 2011 album, simply entitled Christmas, was the fifth to be released by the Canadian singer. Bublé covers 19 Christmas classics in the deluxe edition of this album, which will undoubtedly be played in adverts and shops alike this season.
Bublé’s reign over Christmas music remains as present as ever. His covers of these songs are modern classics, one may say, and yet none of the songs are his own. Bublé’s ‘classics’ are arguably only popular because he sings already popular songs without making any significant changes to their delivery. Perhaps the most original is ‘Santa Buddy’, a cover of ‘Santa Baby’ which sees the alteration of pronouns and gifts from the original lyrics. What this album lacks in originality Bublé makes up for with powerful vocals – he is after all the king of Christmas music for a reason.
John Legend, A Legendary Christmas
The newest album here is John Legend’s A Legendary Christmas. Aside from the pun in the title, this album is a brilliant piece of art that will get everyone singing. Though admittedly I expected this album to be filled with slow ballads, Legend has created a jazzy masterpiece that reimagines Christmas in a fun way.
This is different from Bublé’s album in many ways, embracing upbeat tones whilst featuring several originals. This is perfect for getting everyone moving at a Christmas party. Although I was initially unsure about this album, like an ugly Christmas jumper it makes you feel nice and warm. Honing in on themes of love, this album is a feel-good blast of festiveness.
Frank Sinatra, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Sinatra is the original Michael Bublé. Although the contest was a close race between this artist and Elvis Presley, Sinatra is the ultimate winner. His smooth vocals are easily identifiable and, importantly, his Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas never fails to reduce me to a blubbering mess. Sinatra’s songs make me long for a Christmas with snow falling outside and beside a roaring fire (a compelling picture considering my house does not have a fireplace) and are guaranteed to be recognised by everyone in the family.
Sia, Everyday Is Christmas
In November 2017 Sia released her first Christmas album, entitled Everyday Is Christmas. The artist, best known for her song ‘Chandelier’ and collaboration with Labyrinth and Diablo (their band called ‘LSD’), co-wrote every song on the album with Greg Kurtsin. Sia’s voice is distinctive and it’s what sets this album apart from other artists’ attempts at Christmas debuts: her passionate and breathtaking performance makes Everyday Is Christmas, in my opinion, the best of the four.
The collection varies in tone, some songs such as ‘Puppies are Forever’ (I know what you’re thinking – bit childish – but I assure you, the chorus will be stuck in your head all day) and ‘Candy Cane Lane’ providing catchy, upbeat tunes. The artist is not afraid to explore a vulnerability brought around by Christmas, however. “Snowflake” explores anticipated loss, slowing the tone of the album and sounding almost like a child’s lullaby. This is one of my favourites from the album – the vulnerability Sia conveys through her voice makes her performance admirable.
The original album signed off with ‘Underneath the Christmas Lights’, another slow song. This showcases the singer’s unique voice whilst calming the listener. When listening to this song, you can almost feel yourself being transported to a warm living room, surrounded by Christmas lights and people you love, wishing the day wouldn’t end. This is undoubtedly a love song, but is not addressed to a partner: rather, it is dedicated to the dreamy haze of Christmas and the fleeting nature of the most festive season.