For my final blog post, with a time span from 1976 to now, I had an endless list of options to choose from- too many options. But with the holiday seasons in full swing, I decided to forgo my tribute to the Bee Gees or the Backstreet Boys and write about one of my favorite holiday albums: Christmas by Michael Bublé.
Christmas, Bublé’s seventh studio album, was released in October 2011. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, becoming his third album to do so (but his most successful of the three), and it spent five weeks at the top. It also provided him with his best sales week ever, with 479,000 albums being sold in the third week. It sold 2,452,000 copies in the US in 2011, making it the second best-selling album of 2011 behind Adele’s 21. The album also won a Juno Award for Album of the Year, making it the first holiday album to win the award. Christmas has 15 tracks and is a compilation of notable Christmas songs, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silent Night”. What makes his versions of these very popular Christmas songs is by putting his popularly known style of crooner jazz, swing, and big band touches behind the tracks, along with some contemporary and traditional pop, allowing him to positively make these songs his own, while also paying homage and honing in on the very old-school vocal stylings of Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra that we also associate these classics with.
Bublé released three singles from the album. The first, “All I Want For Christmas is You”, is a remake of Mariah Carey’s widely popular 1994 holiday hit. Bublé takes the very bubbly original and tones it down to a more ballady slow song, which, in my opinion, brings out the desires of love and wanting that the song is supposed to convey. He doesn’t utilize his big band on this track, which allows his smooth, velvety voice to take center stage. But there is a band backing him, and it’s the repetitive keyboard melody that really helps move the song along, with the climax of the song featuring a strong drum beat, both keeping the song from being too slow and potentially falling flat.
The second single, “Jingle Bells”, featuring the English-Italian trio the Puppini Sisters, is based off of the 1943 recording of Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters. The rework is full of boogie-woogie fun, based around a bouncing and electric swing beat, transporting you back to the days of the big swing bands, while also still having touches of contemporary pop. The song oozes holiday spirit and just makes you want to get up and dance all around your Christmas tree. The Puppini Sisters also bring a lot of pep to the song, with this high pitched vocal harmonies that match well against Bublé’s more deeper voice. This song is definitely the funnest and one of the best on the album.
The third and final single, “White Christmas (featuring Bing Crosby)” was released in 2012, separately from the album. However, he has a version of “White Christmas” on his album, featuring Shania Twain. It takes one of the biggest crooners of the older generation with the best crooner of our generation and they compliment each other very nicely. In his 2012 Christmas special, Bublé uses special technology to insert himself into Crosby’s 1971 NBC Christmas special and it’s a funny, charming, and lovely performance. Bublé pays homage to one of his heroes wonderfully.