Christmas Music, 2015
Kylie Minogue has not been considered cool for a while now, but making an album of Christmas tunes doesn’t seem like the act of some cool act, does it? Normally, such albums are released mostly to get some pocket money or to fulfill that one more album requirement in that recording contract, and I wonder what the story behind Kylie Christmas is.
Fortunately, this one isn’t just some throwaway collection of standard Christmas anthems. No Silent Night or O Holy Night here, for example. Instead, Ms Minogue decides to cover 2000 Miles, originally by The Pretenders – while this isn’t exactly an original move, it’s a song that is done pretty well here. On the other hand, her cover of Connie Francis’s I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter only demonstrates that maybe this song isn’t suitable for her voice. The assembled duet that incorporates the late Frank Sinatra’s vocals, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, also demonstrates that Ms Minogue may be brassy but she may have picked the wrong dead guy to duet with: she comes off like a chorus girl filling in for somebody than an equal duet partner.
On the bright side, her duet with James Cordon, the cover version of Yazoo’s Only You, is a bit of a standard ballad, but it still manages to work like a charm. I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at Iggy Pop’s presence in the cover of The Waitresses’s Christmas Wrapping – this song is definitely up Ms Minogue’s alley, and Iggy Pop does some muttering here and there, but I have to admit that I’ve heard livelier cover versions of this song before. Santa Baby, on the other hand, is appropriately naughty, although this one was originally a B-side to the Please Stay single back in 2000, when people still bought physical singles.
Kylie Christmas has a diverse sound, as there is a nice mix of ballads, uptempo tunes, and more traditional old-school backed-by-live-instruments songs here. Still, it is an uneven collection, with some work while other songs suggest that Ms Minogue may be too ambitious in trying to match or outdo the original performers. And, ultimately, this is a Christmas album. Unless you are a collector of Ms Minogue’s works, or you need something to play at home to remind you of your favorite shopping trips to Tesco, Kylie Christmas may not be a necessary purchase.