13 November 2013, Parlophone
It’s almost Christmas time. You’re Kylie Minogue. You have friends and family and maids and cooks to buy presents for, and the bank account has been emptying faster than it’s being refilled. Seeing as your last truly successful song was years ago, there’s only one thing to do: make a Christmas album. With that decided, the first decision is what it should be called? How about Kylie Christmas? Perfect! Now onto the music… original tracks or covers of the greats? How about mostly covers, but a couple of originals so people can’t accuse the record of being a cop out? Problem solved! Now, which featured artists to get involved? Frank Sinatra, obviously. Iggy Pop hasn’t done anything in a while. Everybody loves James Corden! Sister Dannii’s only amusement is throwing darts at her picture of Sharon Osbourne, so she’ll be keen. What a recipe for success! Or not. I’m sure Kylie wasn’t in this for the money. Obviously there’s a huge gap in the market for Christmas songs; there just aren’t enough to fill our Christmas playlists these days. Really, we should be thanking Kylie for being kind enough to cover these songs that noone has ever covered before. The most thankful I felt was when the record finished.
Maybe Kylie should have missed this one this year; that would have been the sweetest gift of all
The question that kept coming back to me throughout listening to this record was why bother? Sinatra sounded better on his own; the original ‘Only You’ was just on the right side of cheesy, and ‘Christmas Wrapping’ was the perfect anti-mainstream anthem. It seems Kylie’s problem, therefore, is that she is utterly unconvincing with everything she tries: “I think I’ll miss this one this year” is so improbable for someone who has been dancing around our TV screens in her little sparkly dresses and sexy, scantily clad dancing elves behind her. In fact, the only moment I was half convinced was in the bonus track on the Deluxe Album ‘100 Degrees’, in which Kylie turns Christmas to disco. Did we ask for this? No. Did we want it? No. Did I enjoy it? No, but it’s almost so bad it’s good, which is more than I can say for the rest of the record, which was just bad.
Maybe Kylie should have missed this one this year; that would have been the sweetest gift of all. The album itself is mostly made up of a fun mix of old and modern songs, from Sinatra’s ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ to The Waitress’ ‘Christmas Wrapping’. With each of these songs, Kylie fails to adapt her nasal voice to the different tones and genres, instead butchering them by making them utterly and completely bland. This is especially evident with the posthumous duet with Sinatra, against whom her voice- predictably- pales in comparison. On the other hand, dueting with someone who isn’t technically a singer at all didn’t help much either. In the completely improbable and less than convincing love story of ‘Only You’, Kylie calls on everyone’s favourite new A lister James Corden. I’m not necessarily knocking Corden’s vocal ability, which is so enjoyable in his Carpool Kareokes, but it fails to make an impact here. The whole song is just one giant ball of cheesy rubbish which made me want to crawl into a hole until at least March. It’s like the personification of that feeling you get when you remember something embarrassing you did years ago; it makes me want to shudder it out of my body and never think about it again.