Kylie Minogue – “Kylie Christmas”
After the diabolical marketing campaign that surrounded “Kiss Me Once” and its ultimate failure to reach anyone at all, Kylie spent the rest of 2014-15 releasing one-off tracks and guesting with other artists and producers. These included working with the legendary Giorgio Moroder on the dance hit “Right Here, Right Now”, Shaggy on “Black And White”, Sam Sparro on “If I Can’t Have You”, and her Summer 2015 mini tour in which she performed “Bette Davis Eyes”, her cover of Kim Carnes 1981 classic.
Kylie went back into the studio that year too, but this time to record something very different. Something ‘seasonal’. And after 28 years in the business, Kylie emerged with her first Christmas album. Half traditional, half new material as well as a smattering of classic Christmas pop hits, reworked with a sparkle of Kylie! Although released on Parlophone Records, questions were now being asked about her future with the label after the demise of “Kiss Me Once” and having shelved Roc Nation, Kylie herself took on the marketing and publicity of this new album to ensure that it reached her target fan base and beyond.
So hang up some tinsel, get the log burner going and pour yourself a glass of Sherry and enjoy some Christmas magic courtesy of everyone’s favourite Australian import…
1. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
We kick off this album with Kylie’s version of Andy Williams’ 1963 yuletide classic that’s been covered by countless others. Here it’s presented in camp classic Kylie-tastic form with wrapping fully off and a backing of Christmas street carolers in fine Hollywood style. It’s like a 1950’s Christmas film brought to life Kylie style!
2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Kylie offers the impossible next – a duet with Mr. Frank Sinatra! Frank recorded his version of this 1934 written track in 1947 and this version brings it into the 21st century with fresh backing from Kylie’s band and the inclusion of her own vocal. One wonders the possibilities if the two could of recorded for real when the great man was alive…
3. Winter Wonderland
Another 1934 written classic, “Winter Wonderland” has been recorded by over 200 different artists! Kylie adds her name to this list with a fanfare of trumpets and a few jigs no doubt. She brings sexiness to this latest recording of the track, very much in the style of her first Christmas recording “Santa Baby”.
4. Christmas Wrapping
Kylie comes back into more recent times now with this version of US group The Waitresses 1982 hit and joins forces with non other than the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop! It loses none of the style or listening of its original and Kylie spends most of the time ‘rapping’ the lyrics, the first time we’ve heard this since the “Rhythm Of Love” days.
5. Only You
Kylie and actor/TV presenter James Corden tackle Yazoo’s 1982 chart topper and offer yet another different take on the song. Stripped of the electroness of the original and the barber shop version given by The Flying Pickets, this is a gorgeous piano ballad that allows both Kylie and James to demonstrate their vocals tenderly and with beauty. It was released as a single with a suitably festive lyric video and is very welcome at any time of the year, snow or sunshine.
6. I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter
Off to the 60’s now as Kylie performs Connie Francis’ 1962 release in “Locomotion” style with almost identical backing music and vocals to the original. Maybe it’s meant to sound like this. She certainly pays homage to her contemporary with top class honours.
7. Every Day’s Like Christmas
Here comes the first original song co-written by Kylie for this album, together with Chris Martin of Coldplay. It’s epic in style and a very gentle, laid-back Kylie track. Don’t confuse this with any attempt to copy “All I Want For Christmas Is You” because it’s not. This is classy Christmas magic done Kylie style and it’s nowhere near as annoying as Ms. Carey’s offering. So why shouldn’t this be Christmas number one every year? Also released as a single with a proper video, sadly this track will always be remembered for featuring Josh Sasse, Kylie’s then partner – later fiance, in the video. If only things had of worked out for the best…
8. Let It Snow
Kylie recorded this 1945 classic back in 2010 for a short holiday album/EP released in Japan. It’s short and sweet and quirky and again loses none of the charm that the original offered. It’s like Disney and Kylie met and recorded it for the very first time!
9. White December
The second original track on this album is co-written with long time collaborator Karen Poole and produced by Matt Prime. You can hear the tinsel shaking just as loud as the jingle of bells right throughout this track. With seasonal drumming and that essential saxophone to end all great Christmas jolly’s, “White December” fits in with its surroundings with ease and could almost be yet another cover.
10. 2000 Miles
Kylie takes on The Pretenders now with their 1983 festive offering, sadly written about the group’s guitarist James Honeyman-Scott’s death the previous year. Kylie brings in the strings and piano and wafts her angelic vocal over the top of it all. Tender and thought-provoking and her own tribute to this modern classic and to the memory of a much missed member of one of our best loved groups.
11. Santa Baby
So this is the song that started it all. Recorded as a B side to “Please Stay” back in 2000, Kylie wrings all of her sexiness and sassiness out in competition with Earrrrrrrrrtha Kitt’s 1953 original. Who will win? Only you can decide.
12. Christmas Isn’t Christmas Till You Get Here
Original song number 3 and Kylie joins forces with Karen Poole again together with album producer Steve Anderson for this jingling-along number. And, oh my, what a vocal performance at the end of this song! New heights, new scales achieved, Kylie can sing and hold a big note if anyone had ever doubted that. Presumably she was waiting for Mr. Sasse to “get here”. Oh dear.
13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
The album closes with another old classic, this time from 1944 and originally performed by Judy Garland in the musical ‘Meet Me In St. Louis’. Kylie once again gives a superb vocal performance mixing sweetly sweet with the power of an angel, and she wishes one and all a “very merry Christmas” at the end. Timeless.
“Kylie Christmas” (what else could it be called) was released on 13th November 2015 and Kylie promoted the album via a one-off concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Tickets sold out for the 5,000 capacity auditorium within minutes of going on sale and Kylie put on a spectacular show of Christmas songs as well as a few greatest hits just for good measure. She even wheeled out some special guests including Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders to sing their classic hit “2000 Miles” and sister Dannii for their track “100 Degrees”, which certainly raised the roof.
“Kylie Christmas” entered the UK album chart at No.12 and has been certified Gold for sales of over 100,000 copies (148,000 sold so far). It peaked at No.7 in Australia and No.184 in The US as well as charting top 40 across Europe. And this is one Kylie album that will keep on giving and giving every December for many years and decades to come! And if that wasn’t enough, the following Christmas saw an expanded edition released under the title of “Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition“.
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