Friday 4 December 2015

Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas

Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas

There comes a time in every popstar's career when they have to do a Christmas album. It's usually a few years in, sales have dipped, and they fully embrace their status as novelty act by belting out a few family favourites.

It's surprising really that Kylie hasn't done a Christmas album sooner...

To be fair, though, that's not because her career is failing - if anything she holds more popstar clout now than ever. It's just that it's built on a mixture of nostalgia and high camp, perfect for releasing a Christmas album. The album itself, though, doesn't quite live up to expectations.

Of course, it predominantly consists of covers more worn out than the limp fake Christmas tree you drag out each year. Mostly this is typical big band fair that not even Kylie's squeaky, bubbly vocals can bring anything new to. Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year but this winter wonderland walks an awkward line between classy jazz classics and pop fun. "Let it snow", she sings, but unless you're a super fan, this version will simply sit alongside all the others you already own. And Santa Baby really is a repetitive bore, right?

The "duets" also don't add much to proceedings - the inverted commas a nod to Santa Claus Is Coming To Town where Kylie sings along to samples of Frank Sinatra (who does it better). Iggy Pop has taken a break from insurance adverts to talk along a bit to The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping, a song that sees Kylie looking back to her 80s roots. Only You has a similar effect (The Flying Pickets version was number one at Christmas 1983), but James Corden's straining vocals are an unnecessary addition.

And then, amongst all this, Kylie throws in the best single she's done in ages: Every Day's Like Christmas. A gently pulsing electro-ballad written by Coldplay's Chris Martin and produced by Stargate, it's got a happy-sad modern-nostalgia vibe that makes this original a new classic. A Stock Aitken Waterman Remix that ramps up the cheesy 80s feel is being released as a single, but the album version is ultimately superior.

Elsewhere, both White December and Christmas Isn't Christmas 'Til You Get Here are originals that try a bit too hard to be typical festive songs. Fans will be most interested in 100 Degrees, a new song in collaboration with sister Dannii that's relegated to the deluxe edition. She may have wanted a Christmas song to reflect the Australian heat of her home, but really this is just an excuse to throw in a disco banger that pretty much epitomises the phrase "camp as Christmas".

It's unlikely that 'Kylie Christmas' will take over from your usual favourites (shout out to Cliff Richard), but really Kylie Minogue + Christmas = what's not to like?


Gizzle's Choice:
* Every Day's Like Christmas
* Christmas Isn't Christmas 'Til You Get Here
* 100 Degrees

Listen: 'Kylie Christmas' is out now.