Release Date: October 30th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- My Kind Of Present
- It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
- I Believe In Santa
- Last Christmas
- Holidays (feat. Earth, Wind & Fire)
- Christmas Party
- Winter Wonderland
- White Christmas (feat. Seth McFarlane)
- Holly Jolly Christmas
- Christmas Got Me Blue
- Sleigh Ride
- My Only Wish
- The Christmas Song
- Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer (feat. Jayden Toney, Jenna Toney & Marcus Toney)
- Naughty List
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (feat. Gary Trainor)
- I’ll Be Home
- Silent Night
It’s no secret that for some of us, or maybe most of us, 2020 has been the worst year ever… for reasons that we all know. So as we come into December and officially the start of the Christmas period, the question needs to be asked- how do we celebrate Christmas when the outlook and landscape of 2021 and beyond looks far from welcome and filled with uncertainty? How can we act all positive and hopeful and jolly and cheerful, when inside that is the opposite of how we are feeling? Well I wish I could say that there is a magical remedy for hoping and wishing that things will be better, but a hopeful and positive Christmas album is the next best thing, am I right? Pop superstar Meghan Trainor has just unveiled her latest project A Very Trainor Christmas, and though it’s full of holiday songs and originals and celebrates the holiday and family aspect of Christmas, while only containing one carol (the overplayed “Silent Night”!); this batch of 18 holiday tunes are sure to bring a smile to our faces as we navigate the holiday season, no matter our own headspace.
Standing tall in quality alongside albums from Delta Goodrem, Carrie Underwood, Pentatonix, for KING & COUNTRY and Tommee Profitt; Meghan’s A Very Trainor Christmas is an album that you’ll definitely want to spin through and repeat year after year after year. While I’m not the most well-versed expert in nor the most avid fan of Meghan Trainor, this doesn’t discount my joy and engagement and enjoyment of this Christmas project. While you can all read about all things Meghan on her Wikipedia page (which is rather extensive!), I won’t go into further detail of her accomplishments and accolades. I’ll leave that to you all to read and peruse at your own pace, while I also ruminate and think about whether I’ll write about Meghan in a blog post later. Either way, this Christmas album gives us all the feels and the warm fuzzies this Christmas. And a look down the track list, and a listen to these songs at least once, brings us great joy as we hear probably one of the most ‘Christmas-y’ albums in recent memory.
“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” is one of the most underrated holiday tracks ever, and Meghan’s rendition, though short at just over 2 minutes, rivals even Marc Martel’s powerful duet with Plumb. George Michael’s “Last Christmas” is also covered here, and though not straying that far from the original, still packs a punch and provides us with food for thought, with Meghan promising to stay more guarded this Christmas and encouraging us to invest in the relationships that matter, romantic or platonic, as ‘…last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away, this year to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special…’; while the laid back “White Christmas” takes on a Caribbean and Jamaican flavour with the presence of the ukulele, and the 50’s/60’s swinging “White Christmas” is one of the most powerful and impacting renditions of the track I’ve heard- and it helps that Seth McFarlane is a great singer as well, along the lines of Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole- who’d have thought it? “Holly Jolly Christmas” is extremely short at 1 minute 45 seconds, and is a low point as the track somehow falls flat; but the jovial and extremely pop sounding “Sleigh Ride”, also an underrated holiday classic, is fun to the max, and a high point here, with Meghan passionately reiterating that all she wants to do this Christmas is to go sleigh riding with her friends- a past time that I reckon is extremely fun.
Apart from covering George Michael’s “Last Christmas”, the only other cover here (that’s not a traditional holiday song) is Britney Spears’ “My Only Wish”. Essentially a ‘prayer’ to Santa, we are met with the persona’s plea and hope that she gets her love this Christmas, and that’s all that matters, while the track could also be a catalyst, as we ask ourselves what’s really important this time of year. Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” has been immortalised into traditional holiday folklore, as Meghan earnestly and vividly describes the happenings and the goings-on of the household around the Christmas season (with the music sounding quite 30’s/40’s-ish; while Meghan enlists the vocal talents of her cousins on “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (a song which I personally don’t care for!) and the piano talents of her father on “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (the most overplayed holiday song in the history of holiday songs!). A Very Trainor Christmas ends with the lone worship carol “Silent Night”, sung in an eerily acapella-type way- and though this carol has been covered to death; it’as actually quite compelling and solid here, and ends the album on a spiritual tone, as we are glimpsed into the reason for the season, as ‘…Christ the Savior is born…Jesus Lord at Thy birth…’.
And this brings me to the 7 originals- which is a lot compared to other Christmas albums. Normally an artist unveils 3-4 per album on average, but here Meghan scatters originally penned material throughout the track list, and the result is a very personal and honest and relatable look at her life around the holidays. Album opener “My Kind Of Present” is a pop ditty that delves into the concept of not needing presents because of the presence of family and friends and that special significant other; while the tongue in cheek and nonsensical “I Believe In Santa” is an extremely fun ball of laughs, and a song not to be taken seriously as Meghan half raps and half sings out that she believes in Santa, and that ‘…yeah, he got the bag on his back, what he ’bout to do? Drink that cocoa up and fly across the world just for you…’. “Holidays”, the 3 minute jazz/gospel infused celebratory track, is a hard hitting and powerful collaboration with the iconic Earth Wind & Fire, and is indeed a highlight, even though it’s extremely short in duration; while “Christmas Party” distinctively describes Meghan’s quintessential Christmas, while at the same time encouraging us all to follow our own traditions of Christmas and to have a good time and a party despite everyone else going on around us.
Meghan also provides us with vulnerability and honesty, as the synth prominent pop tune “Christmas Got Me Blue” depicts the rejection of a lover just before Christmas (which is the reality for some people around the world, and that’s just so sad!); as well as sass and feistiness with the no-nonsense “Naughty List”, imploring Santa to place her in the ‘nice’ list as opposed to the ‘naughty’ list. Yet the most heartfelt and hopeful original tune is “I’ll Be Home”, a piano led emotional and hopeful tune lyrically along the lines of “Bring On The Holidays” from TobyMac and the iconic holiday song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. As Meghan implores us all that she will be home for the holidays, that no matter where she is in the world, she’ll make time to come back home, to her roots, and back to her family and friends during the holidays; this song is a challenge for all of us as well, as we are encouraged to run back home and spend time with family during the holidays as well. As the world of 2020 is looking quite bleak right now, isn’t what we all need the love and the acceptance of friends and family? And what better way to experience that than with friends and family? Well done Meghan for a resounding and poignant orignla tune, and an overall winner of a Christmas album!
I feel like with my last album, Treat Myself, my family was very much a part of that, and it’s like I’ve been training them all these years before we get into wanting to be in the studio with me and wanting to sing backgrounds, so by this album they were so fully prepared.
I was so excited, so it was really fun for us. I’m just so lucky that they’re my best friends and I can live with them and not want to kill them. While we were writing this album people were like, “How did you do that? How did you not fight?” We never fought. It was just fun and we knew what to do to get the job done, and at the same time we were laughing. These songs are hilarious and so fun.
We have a lot of family members born in December. It’s crazy. My mom’s Dec. 3, my brother’s Dec. 17, so by the time Thanksgiving is over we just get into party mode. We’re like, “Okay, who’s birthday are we going to do first? Who wants to combine a birthday?” It’s pretty much just family get-togethers where we eat way too much food and dance. This year it’s going to be so exciting because I can play our album, and we’ll be like, “Oh my God, there’s Dad playing piano, and there’s a cousin singing in the background.” It will be cute and extra special.
For many, many years, Michael Bublé’s Christmas has been the go-to Christmas album for many of us these past years. Now I reckon that A Very Trainor Christmas could possibly dethrone Michael and become, in time, the most loved and respected Christmas album by the general public. That is my hope, because in my opinion all of these songs are just plain fun- what why wouldn’t you want to experience fun during a time like this? and though this album doesn’t make me want to listen to Meghan Trainor’s previous albums (but maybe I will in the future!), what matters is that we now have a Christmas album for the ages. No matter that there’s only one carol on the album- because this project isn’t for the church, it’s for the people that don’t believe. As we listen to songs like “I’ll Be Home”, “My Kind Of Present”, “Christmas Party” and “My Only Wish” in particular, and dwell upon why we celebrate Christmas in the first place… if that gets people closer to Jesus, then who am I to say that God can’t move? So well done Meghan for this epically awesome collection of holiday songs, and let us hope that Meghan dethrones Michael officially. He’s had enough time at the top during the holidays don’t you think?
3 songs to listen to: I’ll Be Home, Christmas Party, My Only Wish
RIYL: Charlie Puth, John Legend, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Halsey