Album Review: Kylie Minogue – Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition
Back in the holiday season of 2015, Kylie Minogue released her first Christmas album, Kylie Christmas; a 13 track selection of holiday classics and original material from Minogue, and her first spin on the seasonal album bandwagon. She’s taking another stab at it for 2016, though, but rather than releasing a new Christmas album, 2015’s album is being repackaged as Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition, and with six new songs there’s a decent amount of new material to be found. However, it’s not exactly enough to make it worth a second listen.
A grand majority of the album is no different from its original incarnation. The tracklist has been rearranged, with the deluxe edition tracks being merged into the original tracklist in places where they make sense, which is a nice little touch to make the package feel more complete. It’s still an exceedingly safe collection of tracks, one that doesn’t always get it right but has its high points—White December and I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter are still extremely enjoyable, and the collaboration with her sister Danni on 100 Degrees is still a strange moment—that make up for these shortcomings. It hasn’t aged quite so well, with less of a reason to listen to the same album all over again, but the new tracks attempt to alleviate this issue.
Unfortunately, they don’t really succeed at this job. By themselves, some work as enjoyable Christmas tracks, with the original track At Christmas being a nice seasonal track, and her cover of Coldplay’s Christmas Lights standing out with its grand string arrangements and beautiful atmosphere. However, some tracks are less enjoyable for different reasons: Wonderful Christmastime is faithful to the strange arrangement of Paul McCartney’s original, though Kylie herself doesn’t pull it off quite so well, and her take on East 17’s Stay Another Day feels like an even worse choice, if only due to the content of the lyrics.
The take on Rozalla’s dance track Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good) is the strangest cut here, though, turning a song with little relevance to Christmas into a strange holiday track that feels disconnected at its core, and is too short to capitalise on the groove it finally reaches a minute and a half in. As extra material on last year’s edition, it would have felt like a nice little bonus, and may have stood up well as its own EP; as an incentive to revisit Kylie Christmas, however, it doesn’t really feel like a strong enough reason to bother.
While Kylie Christmas was originally an enjoyable holiday album, Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition feels like an unnecessary, lazy revisiting of a standard album that turned it into something not much better than its predecessor—even worse, in many ways—and gives almost no incentive to revisit it again. If you’d held off on hearing the album last year, this might be your chance to listen to Kylie Christmas and enjoy it in its entirety; anyone that jumped on board last year, however, is better off not bothering.