Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas

Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas | Random J Pop

Kylie Christmas seemed to come at a similar point in her career as Mariah's second Christmas album did. After a disastrous album rollout. 2014's Kiss Me Once had many turn their heads away following a bafflingly string of singles and an album that just wasn't very good and is barely remembered now. So Kylie said 'Fuck it' and dropped a Christmas album not long after, pulling a Houdini act on the lip emblazoned album and putting all attention on something familiarly festive.

A Kylie Christmas album on paper sounds great. Ever since her 2000 comeback with Light Years, Kylie had fully embraced all things camp and had willingly taken up the mantle of being a queen of it. Kylie is fun and up for anything as long as it's a good time. So a Christmas album at this point in her career made a lot of sense. Whilst this album is pretty much what you'd expect in light of the above, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's great.

Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas | Random J Pop

Kylie's 12th studio album Kiss Me Once suffered from an identity crisis. The writers, the producers and Kylie herself didn't seem to know what they wanted the album to be and how they wanted Kylie at this moment in time to be seen; which was baffling considering that Kylie's previous album Aphrodite pretty much laid that template out so bare and lit the path. But unfortunately, the discombobulation of Kiss Me Once is evident on Kylie Christmas.

Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas | Random J Pop

Kylie Christmas sounds like about five different Christmas album concepts in one.

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", "Let It Snow" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are all bog standard covers, sung as we've heard them be sung a million times before. The strings, the horn sections and the arrangements all sound lovely. And Kylie's voice sounds great, exhibiting a clarity and tone of which you don't get to hear on her original pop recordings. Kylie seems to want to seen as a classic Christmas chanteuse, as evidenced by her rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" featuring thee Frank Sinatra. This is also a budget flex, because it must have cost a bomb to book an orchestra to record all of these songs and pay the estate of Frank Sinatra to clear the use of his vocals.

Then you have a song like "Christmas Wrapping" which is camp and fun, and more in the vein of what a Kylie Christmas to me sounds like. But again, it's such a bog standard cover, even with the inclusion of Iggy Pop. Most will probably fly straight to this song just to hear what Kylie and Iggy sound like together, because it's such an unlikely pairing.

Then you have the original material, which alone is pulled in all different directions separate from everything else. "White December", "Christmas Isn't Christmas 'Til You Get Here" and "Cried Out Christmas" are your typical 1960s, Radio City Rockettes sounding Christmas songs, which is the go to sound for any artist trying for a classic. But then you have "Every Day's Like Christmas", which jettisons you into the 90s, with a very depressingly British style of Christmas song, not unlike East 17's "Stay Another Day". The song is written by Chris Martin of Coldplay which explains just about everything. This songs sticks out like fuck. And whilst I don't feel that it's a good fit for this album, and it literally sounds like Kylie singing a Coldplay song - it is a really good song and one that I play a fair bit. "Christmas Lights" is another song which is not only written by Chris Martin, but the whole of the Coldplay posse. Because I guess Kylie's A&R figured that "Every Day's Like Christmas", whilst good, didn't sound Coldplay enough. A nice song, but also one that doesn't really fit the album.

Then Kylie opens up a wormhole and throws us into the 70s with the disco cut "100 Degrees" which is 150% what I needed to hear from Kylie on a Christmas album. A Disco Christmas song is so fucking ridiculous that it's amazing. Not only does it make sense for the type of pop star Kylie is, but it makes sense for her as an Aussie to sing a song with a reference to a Christmas where it's boiling hot. "100 Degrees" provides a cool slice of Kylie's life that we don't always get in her music. And it featuring her sister just makes it even better.

Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas | Random J Pop

Kylie Christmas is just a headache to listen to, because there really is no sense of what this album is trying to be aside from just a collection of Christmas songs. The best way I can describe this album is as a jukebox of Christmas songs sung by Kylie Minogue. This may be what some fans wanted, but it makes for an album which is not reflective of a Kylie Christmas at all. And the re-released Snow Queen Edition of this album just bloats the album out even more, and makes no real effort to try and fix the original version.

This album should have been a celebration of Christmas in the world of Kylie. Not Kylie conforming and giving us a Christmas album that countless artists have given us before. If I want to listen to a classic big band, swingin' renditions of "Winter Wonderland", I'll listen to Frank Sinatra's or Ella Fitzgerald's. Kylie cannot compare, so I don't get why she tried to match their versions instead of flipping it into something that's her own.

Now. I like me a depressing Christmas song. And whilst I am grateful for the likes of "Only One", "Every Day's Like Christmas" and "Christmas Lights" as contenders for my Sad Bitch Christmas playlist, these aren't the type of songs that make a Kylie Christmas - yet they make up a quarter of the album. I also do not get the John Lewis advert style cover of Rozalla's "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)". A true Kylie Christmas album would have just covered this song with the same high energy of the original. But instead we get this mess where all of the life is sucked out of the song, and you're just left with this husk at the end of the album. Depressing songs still need to hit and have me feel something dammit.

Album Review: Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas | Random J Pop

Kylie Christmas is still festive...I guess, and has moments of fun. But there's no consistency with the sound, and there's no theme within the theme. So many artists release a Christmas album with no consideration for the fact that the whole thing still needs to run from top to bottom like any good album. Every song being about Christmas doesn't just automatically create a sense of cohesiveness if every song feels wildly different with nothing tying them together.

Kylie was so focused on wanting to do all manner of different things that she felt would make a good Christmas album by emulation, that she wasn't focused on what she could and should bring to the table - which was being herself and delivering a true Kylie Christmas album. "100 Degrees" and "Night Fever" were the golden tickets that Kylie should have run with. But the latter only features on the French edition of the album.

There are so many Christmas albums that do parts of what Kylie spent most of her time doing here and do it better, that Kylie Christmas is such a non-factor album.

Kylie was in a position to deliver an album that was fun, bold and unlike anything else in existence. She shoulda zigged in a market of zaggers. But instead we got something that is so messy and boring, that I don't even see the point in it.


■ Every Day's Like Christmas 🏆 J's fave
■ 100 Degrees