Spreading more Christmas cheer for the holiday season, Mariah Carey gifts all with the album companion to her recent Apple TV+ event, “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special.”
Carey, “The Queen of Christmas” penned the seasonal staple, “All Want For Christmas is You” (1994), which topped the Billboard Hot 100 list last year for the first time in 25 years. It’s a trend that continued in 2020. The interest in Carey’s Yule time activities helped influence the partnership with Apple TV for her new material.
This collection takes on old classics and finds the Pop star stretching her award winning vocals on tracks like “Sleigh Ride” in the vein of The Ronettes (1964); the Jazzy, smoky “Christmas Time Is Here” and an R&B slow jam take of “O Holy Night.” An updated version of “When Christmas Comes,” (1994) originally written with John Legend, is just one highlight of this work.
Thanks to her apparently being under the influence of the Christmas spirit, tickling ivories, horns and driving bass lines amplify the celebratory mood.
Overtures like the album opening, “Overture ‘Little Mariah’s Theme,’” and interludes such as, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Interlude)” pace the more Pop-oriented tunes with more traditional offerings.
In addition, the interludes, like sipping a nice cup of peppermint hot chocolate instead of chugging it, adds a particularly sweet/savory factor to the album. Lush string arrangements when indulging in well worn classics like “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town,” or “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” allow for snippets that mix well with the rest of the fare.
Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts Gang” make an appearance on “Peanuts ... All I Want (Interlude), a moment when even the scroogiest of hearts can become warm — Linus Van Pelt reminds everyone: “Being together with your friends and singing holiday songs, now that’s what Christmas is all about.”
Bringing more celebrity friends along for the ride makes holiday classics for a new century. Take the swaggering, upbeat “Oh Santa! (feat. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson,” or the Funk workout, “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)/House Top Celebration” (feat. Snoop Dogg and Jermaine Dupri), for example. Her elastic vocal range soars and shines bright even amongst star talent.
Carey’s “All I Want...” anchors the latter half of the songs, but “O Holy Night,” “Joy To The World” and Silent Night (Magical Christmas Mix), play out leading up to the holiday smash, gracefully capping a memorable Christmas experience.