With her eighth studio album with us (admittedly her first Christmas themed one) Sia’s new release Everyday Is Christmas is clearly marketed at the holidays, but can it stand up on its own merits?
With a massive dose of doo-wop positivity and Sia’s distinctive voice, we’re launched into the album with “Santa’s Coming For Us”. Loaded up with big band brass, church bells ringing out and acapella vocals across the bridges and fills, we’re given surprisingly refreshing new additions to tried and tested traditional Christmas tracks which, despite injections from The X Factor, have remained largely unchanged for decades.
Later in the album, but returning with the brassy, doo-wop tones, comes “Puppies Are Forever”. With lyrics like ‘puppies are forever / not just for Christmas‘, it’s as sickly sweet as you’d think, but at least it carries the message that remains important around the holidays.
Not to be a Scrooge about Christmas overall, but I’m the first to confess my *ahem* distaste for most of the Christmas tracks when they start ringing out across the airwaves from late November. So imagine my surprise when by the middle of “Candy Cane Lane” (the track, not some place I’ve stumbled across), I find myself toe-tapping along. It’s simplistic for sure, but the best music often is, with a catchy beat and hook-led lyrics, it’s a surefire win for a new Christmas hit. “Ho Ho Ho” carries through some of the saccharine sweetness of the previous tracks through its melody, but perhaps with a topic more familiar than some would admit; the boozy side of the holiday, loaded with rum and whisky with ‘everyone losing their legs‘. The track, filled with a sea shanty rhythm is as catchy as the rest, but packed with chaotic noises of crashing and cartoon springs.
The entire album isn’t just loaded with infectious pop however. “Snowman” calms the sugar rush of the album with a slow, piano-led love ballad directed to the titular snowman. It’s not the same heart-wrenching heights of Chandelier, but it’s an excellent track in its own tree-topping way. “Snowflake” follows directly on in much the same way. A piano and xylophone filled piece that Sia sings out directly from the heart. Thinly-veiled as a song about a snowflake, it’s filled with truly emotive imagery that directly links it to loss and pain of someone she’s loved. It may not scream ‘Christmas’, but it grounds the album to Sia’s trademark emotions.
Tucked away near the end of the album, is the title track, “Everyday is Christmas”. The song keeps the Sia-ballad theme; bittersweet with plenty of vocal belting from the lady herself. Bringing us back into the light however, comes “Sunshine”. Following the darkness from “Snowman” and “Snowflake”, the track is meant to comfort and reassure, and it does so admirably. With the piano melody taking a turn for the major keys and imagery of problems being fixed by elves and the powers of their hearts, it’s a return to the brightness that fills the album, and in fairness, most Christmas songs.
Bridging the gap between the Sia-style ballads and the traditional Christmas pop comes “Underneath the Mistletoe”. A jazz-infused ballad that is both emotionally rich and loaded with enough pop to keep everyone satisfied and give it a good chance in the charts. The similarly titled “Underneath the Christmas Lights” follows the same lyrical theme, but drops us into a less traditional structure for a Christmas track with plenty of vocal range display from Sia. It’s a soulful ballad, perfect for tailing the album off, considering it’s from Sia.
As an album, Everyday is Christmas would likely struggle to stand up on its own merits, despite a few clearly excellent tracks. However, it’s a Christmas album, and a bit of a game-changer in that respect. If you fancy ditching Wizzard and Slade a bit this year, get yourself a copy of this. To hear it at it’s best, come in to your nearest Richer Sounds to hear it in one our demo rooms.
(Outside Christmas Score)
Author: Steve, Southgate store