Mini-Review: Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas [Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition]

Mariah Carey

Merry Christmas

Label: Sony Music Entertainment

Release Date: October 29th 1994 (Standard), November 1st 2019 (Deluxe) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Silent Night
  2. All I Want For Christmas Is You
  3. O Holy Night
  4. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  5. Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)
  6. Joy To The World
  7. Jesus Born On This Day
  8. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
  9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)
  10. Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child
  11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  12. Sugar Plum Fair Interlude
  13. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Live At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine)
  14. Silent Night (Live At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine)
  15. Joy To The World (Live At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine)
  16. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Gloria (In Excelsis Deo) (Live At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine)
  17. Jesus Born On This Day (Live At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine)
  18. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (Live At The Cathedral of St. John The Divine)
  19. Oh Santa!
  20. Christmas Time Is In The Air Again
  21. When Christmas Comes (feat. John Legend)
  22. The Star
  23. Lil Snowman
  24. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (Anniversary Mix)
  25. All I Want For Christmas Is You (So So Def Remix) (feat. Jermaine Dupri & Bow Wow)
  26. All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah’s New Dance Mix Extended 2009)
  27. Joy To The World (Celebration Mix)
  28. Joy To The World (Flava Mix)
  29. Sugar Plum Fair Introlude (Acapella)

Initial thoughts: What I originally thought was a pop holiday album is anything but, as I am pleasantly surprised at the gospel and worship influence here. Mariah’s voice is crazily good, and if you have not heard this album yet… then you absolutely need to! Right now!

Reason to listen: A pure pop/soul/gospel Christmas album at its most vulnerable, honest and emotional; Mariah Carey owns the holiday season in terms of Christmas music sales (in my opinion), with this near-perfect and absolutely flawless holiday album featuring plenty of powerful and compelling God-moments and impressive vocals that even now we probably can’t even fathom… in a crazy good way! Need I go on?

Reason to buy: Because “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is so iconic. Because Mariah’s out-of-this-world voice in her prime, as evident on “O Holy Night”, “Joy To The World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” is matchless, even when compared to many amazing vocalists today! Because in my humble opinion, “Jesus Born On This Day” and “Jesus What A Wonderful Child” are probably a couple of the most inspiring and meaningful Christmas songs ever (original or carols)! If only these three reasons are all; then these are reasons enough to buy this masterpiece and work of art! The fact that there are 29 songs on the 2019 deluxe edition, means that the staying power of this 25-year-old album is quite high, and deserves attention

Reason to skip: Nah, nah, nah, nobody is skipping this album! Not on my watch!

No. of carols: 17

No. of originals: 12

No of guest artists: 2 (John Legend on track #21, and Jermaine Dupri & Bow Wow on track #25)

Does it have heart?: The daughter of a preacher, Mariah knows how to take us to church and to sing at the top of her voice. She does this and more on this powerful, inspiring album, that yes, is a Christmas album, but is also so, so hopeful and just happy, that we can’t help but listen to it all year round! Yes, Mariah does have heart here. She may have had controversy of late (with regards to the lip synching debacle five or so years ago), but there’s no denying that when Merry Christmas released, Mariah was on fire, and she was what any vocalist would strive to be like. Yes, indeed, she has heart, and then some more!

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: The album has a gospel/worship feel with choirs on every track. There are other albums (like many from Michael W. Smith, and others from Peter Hollens and Josh Groban) which feel more Christmas-y; but this doesn’t mean that this album is inferior- in fact it’s one of the best Christmas albums holistically!

Uniqueness?: Not really- it’s like your typical worship/gospel album with a few carols added in for variety. But it is really Mariah’s vocals that make this album iconic, timeless, a classic, and any other positive adjective you could think of!

Christmas message: Mariah preaches the Word of God and shares the gospel quite overtly here and with great passion and enthusiasm- which is bold for an artist in the mainstream to do. Although it’s quite common for mainstream artists to sing about Jesus during Christmas, Mariah on this album sounds vulnerable, authentic and real when singing about Jesus. This may or may not be indicative of her faith right now, but what matters is that when you listen to Merry Christmas from Mariah, you’ll be feeding your soul and drawing closer to our Father, Friend and Saviour!

Closing thoughts: An epically awesome Christmas album- and a still epically awesome album even if you listen at other times of the year… no matter which way you slice it. You may not be a Mariah fan like myself, but it’s hard not to love this project. At least one listen is required during Christmas time, and if you’re still like The Grinch or Scrooge… then listen to the album again and again and again until you’re smiling and laughing, rejoicing and shouting out the praises of our Almighty!

3 songs to listen to: All I Want For Christmas Is You, Jesus Born On This Day, Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child

Overall rating: 5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: Surprisingly yes a thousand times over. I had it in my head that this album would only be ‘ok’, considering that I hadn’t heard it until recently (shame on me!) and I thought the Mariah’s professionalism on this album would be similar to how she acted when she was lip syncing. But this project is God-breathed and Holy Spirit anointed, and I was indeed blown away in the best way possible. Thus it is in my opinion, that Merry Christmas is a must listen and a must buy, for no other reason than that you’ll be blessed and touched and inspired and drawn closer to Jesus!

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