Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas II You (New Christmas Music)

Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas II You

Right off the bat I have to confess I'm no Mariah Carey fan. I don't have anything against her I simply have never enjoyed her style of vocal histrionics or found her song choice particularly compelling. So, I come to Mrs. Cannon's new, sure to be massive, Christmas release not as a fan but, I hope, not as a hater either. Let's do this...

Track One: A tiny 23 second tease of Santa Clause is Coming to Town (that Napster and Amazon both want $0.99 for if purchased separately - does no one review these things before they go live?)

Track Two: Oh Santa!
Uh oh! This is pretty good. I mean I wouldn't put it into my own heavy rotation but this is one of the better amalgamations of modern dance/pop and Christmas that I've heard. In fact I dare say if this had come from an indie dance band with more hipster cred and slightly edgier production I wouldn't have pegged it as a Mariah Carey tune.

Now that I've listened to it a couple more times the bloom is coming off the rose so let's move on...

Track Three: O Little Town of Bethlem / Little Drummer Boy Medley
Typical plastic cod-gospel with unnecessarily over the top vocals.  Generic and instantly forgetable.

Track Four: Christmas Time is in the Air Again
Jazzy and, again, generic but not at all bad. Mariah keeps it fairly low-key.

Track Five: The First Noel/Born Is The King Interlude
You know that wobbly sound vocals get when you play badly warped vinyl. Yeah, that's what this sounds like.

Track Six: When Christmas Comes
Could have just as easily been a standard run of the mill non-Christmas pop tune. Substitute Christmas with "my baby" or "the mail" and strip out the token sleigh bells and brief Jingle Bells quote towards the end and your good to go year round.

Track Seven: Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)/Housetop Celebration 
Old skool soul/disco was the aim here but it just made me want find my old Salsoul Orchestra "Christmas Jollies" LP. Meh.

Track Eight: Charlie Brown Christmas
A pretty nice take on "Christmas Time is Here" It's been done before (and better) but so far this is the best track from a musical standpoint -Though "Oh Santa!'s" still the most fun.

Track Nine: O Come All Ye Faithful/Hallelujah Chorus 
Oh no you didn't!

Track Ten: O Holy Night - Live From WPC in South Central Los Angeles
Stripped down live arrangement, which is a positive. Wish the crowd reactions were a little lower in the mix but that's a minor quibble.

Track Eleven: One Child
Pleasant enough and you can't disagree with the sentiment.

Track Twelve: All I Want For Christmas Is You - Extra Festive 
Mariah's ubiquitous Christmas hit. A great tune but I've never really heard a version of it that I felt lived up to the song, including Carey's. 

Track Thirteen: Auld Lang Syne - The New Year's Anthem 
Unlucky thirteen indeed.

Amazon has an exclusive 14th track a remix of the album's single "Oh Santa!"

So, what have we learned. Well I'm still neither fan nor hater. This is going to sell like gingerbread hotcakes and I really don't have that big a problem with it. If this collection makes people happy, if it brightens the spirits  of Mariah's huge fanbase, who am I to Grinch out and disapprove. That said there are only two or three tunes here I'd welcome hearing again and a few I pray don"t become big hits or we'll be stuck hearing them over and over and over again everytime we go shopping.

Preview  /Buy CD at Amazon
Preview / Buy MP3 Album at Amazon

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