There comes a time in a music artist’s career to make a Christmas album (Read: Make. That. Dough.)
So many mainstream musicians have done it: Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani… the list goes on and on. Even rapper Snoop Dogg and metal band August Burns Red have gotten in on the Christmas cheer with their albums Snoop Dogg Presents Christmas in the Dog House (2008) and the instrumental August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill (2012), respectively.
Currently, Billboard’s top holiday albums are Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas at No.1 and Michael Buble’s Christmas at No. 2.
Taking the No. 3 slot? Sia’s Everyday is Christmas, the newest collection to join the likes of Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas on the charts.
(I’ve already used the word ‘Christmas’ eight times in this review, and it hasn’t even truly begun. Buckle up, people. This is gonna be a good one.)
When I saw Sia released an album dressed in red and green, I was only slightly surprised. She’s not who I imagined releasing one of these babies, but as previously mentioned, no one is safe from Christmas cheer—and cash. Sia pumps out 10 original tracks on Everyday is Christmas, and at least one of them has made it to a J.C. Penney commercial that I’ve seen so far.
Let’s start out with the obvious. Every song on the record is generically titled (“Snowman” and “Underneath the Mistletoe,” for starters.) Some gush with love like “Snowflake,” and others bubble with childlike wonder like “Candy Cane Lane.” The love songs gets cringingly repetitive by the seventh track, “Sunshine.”
But we’ll forgive Sia because Christmas albums are Christmas albums, after all—not sparkling masterpieces.
That being said, I am thoroughly pleased to add these 10 originals to my repertoire of songs to spice up my yearly holiday playlist on Spotify. I’m a sucker for the tambourine shaking, bell ringing sounds of the season.
And Sia does add something new to the mix—the diversity of Everyday is Christmas is what struck me most. While it has its fair share of typical Christmas music conventions, it also sounds somewhat like a Sia album with her strong, raspy vocal. And make what you will of it, but every track is so. damn. catchy.
While many an artist would stick with the classics on their Christmas music foray, Sia does her own thing and it totally works. The only traces of tradition are on the first track, “Santa’s Coming for Us,” when she sings the line “Santa’s comin’ to town.” Otherwise, all songs are fresh, and the opener is one of the most solid on the whole album.
“Puppies Are Forever” is another gem. The song is naturally upbeat and cheeky, but it’s the only song to sneak in a real message when the pop artist sings “Puppies are forever/not just for Christmas/’Cause they’re so cute and fluffy with shiny coats/But will you love them when they’re old and slow?”
The album ends on a slow piano ballad, “Underneath the Christmas Lights,” which showcases Sia’s vocal versatility. Her unique range and timbre shine in many of the songs’ verses and completely make the album.
All in all, I’m glad Sia was this year’s Christmas album culprit. I can imagine few other pop icons pulling off original holiday songs that strike such a balance between overarching and offbeat. Hear me cheerfully butchering these tunes while I bake copious amounts of cookies as Christmas Day nears.