O Holy Crap: Here Comes Christmas (originally published on GuySpy, Nov 6 2013)

O Holy Crap: Here Comes Christmas

The Christmas album is a funny old thing, isn’t it? Destined to languish at the bottom of your most played list on iTunes for a good 49 weeks of the year, pop stars tend to make them when their careers are going either incredibly well or incredibly badly. By lucky chance, two of our foremost ladies of song are going into battle this winter with their first festive collections, giving us a rare opportunity for direct comparison.

In the red corner: the UK’s very own Leona Lewis.

leona-lewis-christmas-with-love-thatgrapejuice-1024x1024

Why is Leona doing it?

Gosh, this has the whiff of contractual obligation doesn’t it? Poor Leona has had a rough old time of it lately, releasing actually quite good records to massive public indifference. “Christmas with Love” will, I imagine, turn out to be her swansong on Syco – expect an exciting deal with newly formed indie label  L.Lewis Records to be “inked” in January.

What is the single like?

It’s called “One More Sleep” and it’s fake Motown – or, if you will, Fauxtown. But it’s really rather good and will only get better as December 25th approaches.

Will it make it onto subsequent editions of “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” for future generations to enjoy? 

Hell yes. Children will dance to it and say “Mummy, who is Leona Lewis?” to which mummy will reply “I haven’t an effing clue dear.”

What does Leona say in the press release?

“This has been such a busy year for me having been on tour, shooting my first movie and being in the studio. But I cannot wait to get out there this Christmas and perform these songs. I had such fun recording this record and that really comes through in the songs. I am looking forward to spreading a little Christmas cheer!”

What does Leona actually mean?

“I was forced to do this at gunpoint.”

What will this do for Leona’s long term career prospects?

Well, it will give her something to do when switching on the Christmas lights in Billericay.

In the other red corner: America’s Kelly Clarkson.

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-christmas-album-1024x1024 copy

Why is Kelly doing it?

Because Kelly feels like it.

What is the single like?

“Underneath the Tree” is so upbeat and jovial as to be almost threatening. If Kelly were to sing this to a group of pensioners in a small, poorly ventilated room she would be the only one to make it out alive. None of this detracts from its general fabulousness though, especially when the saxophone solo kicks in.

Will it make it onto subsequent editions of “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” for future generations to enjoy?

You betcha. And it will come before Mariah on the tracklisting, much to Mariah’s fury.

What does Kelly say in the press release?

“I’m super excited to put out my first Christmas record. I absolutely love Christmas music and have had a total blast recording and writing for it. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.”

What does Kelly actually mean?

Exactly what she fucking says. She’s Kelly Clarkson.

What will this do for Kelly’s long term career prospects?

Kelly is good for a while yet. Don’t worry about Kelly.

The verdict:

Kelly – personal empowerment guru to me and millions of others, has this one in the bag with “Wrapped in Red.” Leona – personal empowerment guru to some rabbits, cows and anything else with a pulse that you might want to eat – walks away looking a bit sad and defeated. Which is a shame, given her talent BUT THAT’S POP FOR YOU ISN’T IT? Merry Christmas ladies!

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