As if to hammer the point home that Christmas albums are difficult listening, I’m finishing with bloody TORI. If anyone’s going to be a downer at Christmas, or maybe have a scene and ruin Christmas dinner, it’s HER. So let’s see what she has to offer…
What Child Nowell: It’s actually nice to hear old-school Tori’s baroque-sounding songs. No amount of sleighbells will make this xmassy though, but it is a pleasant listen and as such makes it as good as at least half of her recorded output.
Star of Wonder: A bit of a tinker with an song I remember doing at school. This really does feel like a normal Tori album, which is comforting in a way. If she was in front of a log fire with a patterned jumper and a Christmas tree I would perhaps start to worry, but as it stands she’s floating like a half-melted Stretch Armstrong on the cover so all is normal. Ten points for using “solar fire” as a lyric in a Christmas song though!
A silent night with you: A new song I take it, but what shit lyrics! “The radio plays my holiday faves” . .. useless! But it’s not that bad tune-wise, it turns almost festive towards the end, imagine that!
Candle- Coventry carol: Brass band gets wheeled in for this headache of a song about a candle. NO THANKS *skip*
Holly, Ivy and Rose: I rather like this, and I’m oddly fascinated by the inclusion of her daughter too, she has a distinctive vocal style. A little of that feels a bit like echoes of dear old MOMMY, God knows how that kid is going to turn out. The song is a bit of a slow starter but it’s alright.
Harps of gold: Disappointed that this isn’t a Christmas remake of the Esther Rantzen theme tune Hearts of gold, but whatever. Bit of a non-event but it’s quite uptempo, I just can’t understand what she’s saying (as PER USUAL).
Snow Angel: Finally something feeling a bit more wintery, but just feels a bit like a standard Tori album. Am I the only one thinking this? This sort of drifts along, not making much impact. NEEEXT.
Jeanette Isabella: Did I put The Beekeeper on by accident? She’s all very pleasant and tinkly here, and I’m feeling bored senseless. Are you SURE this isn’t The Beekeeper?
Pink and Glitter: Sorry what? When did she suddenly do Big Band? In the middle of a holiday album too, of all places. Still, a bit of excitement (to a degree) at least. It’s not that bad, especially as I hate Big Band. I can’t really imagine Tori wanting to shower the world in pink and glitter though. Pink and bitter, more likely, and that doesn’t even make sense … the song decent enough.
Emmanuel: Oh God can I stop yet? Droney blah blah blah. I can do without this.
Winter’s Carol: This is definitely 00’s Tori behind the wheel now, despite the promise of the first track. Still, this isn’t that bad, it’s more Scarlet’s Walk than anything which isn’t a bad thing at all. Dramatic piano and bizarre stereo singing breakdown. I quite like it!
Our new year: Thank God this is the end. A nice New Year song, why don’t people do more of those? Feels like it’s going to build to something, and it finally makes it in the last minute. Nice epic strings, lovely! Why couldn’t the rest of the album have been like this?
Have yourself a merry little Christmas: A little addition by me here, not on the actual album, but it’s possibly my favourite of the three renditions of it. Spooky and ethereal but softening into my favourite Christmas carol-type song. Sounds like a Little Earthquakes for a time, I love it. I think this song is really unwreckable, gorgeous. I do love how she leaves the “… gayyyy” bit hanging too, I don’t know why, call me immature!
OH GOD IT’S OVER. I wondered how to compare Tori’s effort to the others, but it’s hardly worth it. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to even think of this as a Christmas album, it just feels like business as usual for a Tori album. A bit of a mishmash of styles though, feeling like she borrows from a number of her previous albums.
Nice try (I think), but ultimately it’s more Frankenstein than frankincense.