Few pop celebrity Christmas albums have remained winter mainstays, with Mariah Carey being the exception that proves the rule. Today, Kylie Minogue joins the ranks of those artists less fortunate, doomed to be forever relegated to “Did You Know They Had a Christmas Album” listicles that come out every year around this time.
It’s not that Minogue’s album isn’t pleasant. The arrangement on the opening track—“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”—are beautiful. But somewhere between her cover of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (which features a zombie Frank Sinatra) (not as good as that sounds) and her strange duet with a mumbling Iggy Pop on a new rendition of The Waitresses’ melancholy classic “Christmas Wrapping,” the whole thing falls apart like the Christmas that my parents got a divorce. And by the time you get to the suicide-inducing classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”—not Kylie’s fault, why is this a Christmas song?—the album feels re-gifted at best.
Minogue’s cover of “Only You,” a duet with James Corden, is the only one of the three collaborations that really works on the standard version of the album. (The deluxe edition features “100 Degrees,” a duet with her sister Danii—it’s pretty “fabulous.”)
Die-hard fans of Minogue, of course, will love the whole thing. But “Santa Baby,” that old thing, is a mess here; “I’m Gonna Be Warm This Christmas,” is a song I would prefer never to hear again, even if I probably will, as Kylie’s album seems made to be streamed in malls across America and your city’s local free-standing H&M.
Kylie Christmas will doubtlessly prompt many questions of “Is that Kylie Minogue? Really?” and frowns at the fact that all the idols of our childhood are reminding us, with each successive release, that one day we’re all going to die. (Kylie herself is doing great, though: she’s already sold out her Christmas show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.)
Stream the good tracks one by one, like “2000 Miles” and “Every Day’s Like Christmas.” But if you’re really dying to make Kylie a major part of your Christmas festivities, consider this pitched-up version of George Michael’s “Last Christmas,” which sounds almost exactly like her.
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Image via Parlophone Records