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A pleasantly old-fashioned Christmas album.
on November 25, 2006
Before Mariah Carey turned to R&B, she was primarily known as a pop artist with a huge voice. It's a good thing that she recorded this album at a time where her vocal range was its top - after all, many Christmas carols feature the most wonderful melodies of our times, and she was in total control of her amazing pipes when "Merry Christmas" was recorded. The result is a pleasantly old-fashioned Christmas album, mixing the secular with the religious and covering all the bases of seasonal music.
This album most notably features "All I want for Christmas is you", a Phil-Spector-like tune co-written by Mariah that just keeps growing bigger with each listen; it's probably the closest we've ever come to getting a new Christmas classic in the last 20 years and features Mariah at her most flexible, starting the song at the very bottom of her range and working her way to the top by the song's rousing finale. This song is exhilarating, instantly memorable and very joyful - if it doesn't bring a smile to your face, it means you're already dead !
The rest of the album is pretty good as well, although it probably won't change the minds of those who do not enjoy Mariah Carey's vocal style. Especially worth noticing are the other two originals songs on the album; "Jesus born on this day" is an appropriate reminder of what Christmas is all about; "Miss you most at Christmas time" is an extremely poignant and emotional song that features one of her most expressive vocals ever, and it will especially ring a bell with all of those who are celebrating Christmas after the loss of a loved one. The classic "Hark the herald angels sing" is breath-taking, "Silent night" and "O holy night" are tailor-made showstoppers for Mariah, and "Joy to the world" is given an all-out disco treatment that makes it irresistibly joyous. In fact, the only lesser moments are "Santa Claus is coming time" and "Christmas (baby please come home)", both of which follow the bluepring of "All I want for Christmas is you" a bit too closely. By the time the album closes with the gospel-infused "Jesus O what a wonderful child", you'll find yourself happy that you bought this album.