A Kylie Minogue Christmas album seems inevitable. The pint-sized pop diva has boasted a career that has lasted over three decades that included television, music, film, and stage. She’s long ago transcended the moniker of “pop star” and graduated to the grander title of “entertainer.” And holiday albums are a staple in many multi-hyphenated celebrities.
On Kylie Christmas, Minogue serves up a collection of songs that mixes nostalgia and camp. While not a terribly diverse set, the songs all show different sides of Minogue – the saucy chanteuse, the impish diva, the disco diva, and dilettante tourist of punk/indie music. Not the most ambitious record of her career, Kylie Christmas still will satisfy her devoted fans.
The majority of the record is devoted to old-fashioned Christmas nuggets. Swathed in lush and expensive-sounding orchestras, Minogue doesn’t do anything new to standards like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Let It Snow,” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Her take on “Santa Clause Is Coming to Town” is also solid, though it’s marred by a creepy from-the-grave duet with Frank Sinatra. The best of the lot is “Santa Baby” which Minogue sells with her considerable charms and cheeky insouciance.
Along with Christmas standards, there are some covers, too, which make for the more interesting moments on Kylie Christmas. She and comedian James Corden (an able warbler) do a pretty version of the Yazz hit “Only You” and her austere take on The Pretenders’ “2000 Miles” is a highlight. But Minogue is most fun when she’s doing something unexpected, and her duet with punk god Iggy Pop on the New Wave standard “Christmas Wrapping” is fantastic – the seemingly discordant blend of Pop’s groggy vocals with Minogue’s syrupy chirp offers a charming juxtaposition of sweet and sour.
The only lulls in the album come during the original material which simply doesn’t measure up to the other songs. While it’s admirable that Minogue had a hand in writing all of the original material, she doesn’t have an “All I Want for Christmas Is You” on the set. The best of the newer songs is “100 Degrees” a nu-disco number that features Minogue’s sister Dannii.
It’s hard to picture Kylie Christmas replacing your old Julie Andrews or Johnny Mathis Christmas records, though it’s just as cheery, just as sentimental, and frankly, just as hokey. Though, everything Minogue does remains firmly tongue-in-cheek, and if one wants a silly, funny Christmas record, then Kylie Christmas will more than fit the bill.