By Camille Liptak, reporter
Gwen Stefani’s newest Christmas album proves to be a surprising gift from the veteran pop singer.
The contents of You Make It Feel Like Christmas are cheery, lively, and everything you would want out of a Stefani Christmas album.
Out of the plethora of Christmas carols out there, Stefani revamped the best.
“Jingle Bells” is a merry joy ride of horns driven by the liveliness of Stefani’s voice.
“Let it Snow” is a poppy doo-wop track with a driving beat that makes you want to dance next to a warm fire with some eggnog.
Both “Silent Night” and “White Christmas” deliver jovial interpretations of the holiday classics.
Her cover of Wham’s “Last Christmas” does the original song proud. Stefani’s voice trickles with sentimentality, while the instrumentation is lush with a hint of country twang.
The title track is an upbeat and sweet duet with boyfriend, Blake Shelton.
Traces of her country beau’s musical influence are on “Under the Christmas Lights” and “When I Was A Little Girl”.
On “My Gift Is You”, Stefani croons about love being the best Christmas gift. The track mirrors the sonic vibes of “Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes before You”.
The melodies, lyrics, and instrumentals on You Make It Feel Like Christmas are no-nonsense, which is exactly what one wants out of a Christmas album.
Were it not for the title and theme, many of these tracks could be mistaken for a standalone pop record. Stefani translates her trademark Cali-cool quite well by combining surf rock, brill building, and beach pop styles with the festive genre.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Stefani said she has high hopes for her Christmas album, hoping it will top-out like Mariah Carey’s 1994 merry smash, Christmas.
Carey’s song, “All I want for Christmas is You” is a holiday staple, featured in countless films and radio playlists for 22 years since its initial release.
Whether or not Stefani’s wish for this popularity will come true is still up in the air.
Though Stefani’s intention was to write an undated holiday record, the release of You Make It Feel Like Christmas may have been ill-timed.
Stefani announced the project in September, and October 6th marked the official release date of the holiday album. In the current world of entertainment, sooner isn’t always better. Relevancy is everything for artists, especially in the pop music scene.
Even though the quality of the music on the record is better than expected, Stefani may have done herself a disservice with the too-early release of You Make It Feel Like Christmas. Still, with Thanksgiving and December on the horizon, the 12-song album is worth unwrapping.
Camille Liptak at email@example.com