Christmas albums are an annual pop staple at this stage. Most pop divas have a Christmas album under their belt, some of which even contain some of their most iconic tracks, such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You. Seventeen years and twelve albums into her career, it almost seemed strange that Kylie Minogue hadn’t joined these ranks. And now that she’s filled in the gap with the release of Kylie Christmas, it feels like a good fit; nothing groundbreaking or thrilling, but a solid holiday experience from a capable artist.
Kylie Christmas features a variety of covers of Christmas standards, such as her jazzy renditions of Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and the grand, orchestral Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The jazz standard covers largely leave something to be desired, often not meshing as well with her voice. On the other hand, the faithfully bouncy cover of Let It Snow is a perfect fit for Minogue’s sweet vocals, and the vintage jazz of Santa Baby makes full use of her flirty, coquettish voice in one of the album’s strongest numbers; so while the standard covers were a mixed bag, there are occasional stand-outs that make up for it.
While the standards are lacking, however, the less traditional covers and original tracks make up for them. Her cover of Connie Francis’ I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter was instantly more engaging than anything else on her album, with its 60s girl group sound making a better fit for Minogue’s distinct voice. The original track White December dips into a vague vintage jazz sound, but mixes it with modern production and pop elements, which culminates into a track that’s perfectly tuned to Minogue in every way. They aren’t all successful, however, with the cliché disco pop of her duet with her sister Dannii Minogue 100 Degrees featuring minimal holiday references and feeling extremely out of place; something that cannot be said about any of the other songs here.
Regardless of how often the album gets it right or wrong, however, it serves its purpose well. Minogue offers listeners a number of solid Christmas covers and some great original material that balances out its weaker moments. The only truly weak moments are in its opening and closing sections; the inclusion of the jazz standard covers makes sense, but the strongest material is easily found in the album’s middle section. This middle section is more than strong enough to make up for any shortcomings the album may have, though, making for an ultimately balanced package. Even if it never really breaks the boundaries of a regular Christmas album, Minogue fans should be very happy with Kylie Christmas.