It's been 16 years since Mariah released her "Merry Christmas" album, and still today, it is one of the most successful holiday albums ever. This is part of the reason why this new record was so highly anticipated by her fans all over the world. "Merry Christmas 2 you" is a collection of classic holiday songs mixed with original compositions written by Carey herself, and it is mostly on those new songs where the record reaches its highest note.
The album starts strong, with a nice intro that leads to the uptempo and energetic first single, "Oh Santa". However this state of celebration is fleeting, as "O Little Town of Bethlehem / Little Drummer Boy" breaks the mood and turns the atmosphere into boring and predictable. "Christmas time is in the air again" is a slow and subtle jazzy tune that needs more than one listening in order to truly appreciate it, as its undeniable quality unfortunately suffers from being placed between two of the most boring tracks of the album.
The record suffers from lack of direction at times and, instead of focusing on a more classic and traditional sound, there are bits and pieces that fail to fit with the holiday atmosphere, some with better results ("When Christmas Comes") and others with awful resolutions (the final and unneccesary r&b section of "Born is the King", the futile "Here comes Santa Claus", or the Christmas disco experiment "Auld Lang Syne - The New Year’s Anthem”).
However, the album saves the best quality tracks for last, delivering a non-stop succession of poweful melodies, backing choirs and orchestral arrangements that should have been echoed in all the remaining tracks. Songs like “O Come All Ye Faithful / Hallelujah Chorus”, the new versions of "O' Holy Night" or "All I want for Christmas is you", and the best original track of the album, "One Child", reminds us why Mariah Carey has become one of the most unique voices in the music industry since the early 90's.
Overall, this is a good holiday record that can hold its own against its predecessor but will never surpass it. It suffers from a terrible misplacement as far as tracklisting goes, but has enough quality material to be considered a good Christmas gift for the listener.
Click below to listen to my favourite original track on the album, the beautiful "One Child". Will you be decorating your Christmas tree with Mariah this year?