Oct 22 2010

Rave Reviews For Merry Christmas II You

On Wednesday October 20th, Island Def Jam chief L.A. Reid hosted a listening party for Mariah's upcoming holiday album Merry Christmas II You at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

"Anyone who knows Mariah knows she absolutely LOVES Christmas," L.A. Reid said. "She spends so much money on Christmas--probably too much money--gifting everyone, decorating, everything. So this project was purely done out of her love for the Holiday."

Songs from the new album were previewed to a crowd of friends, fans and journalists and Mariah took the stage to thank those who were involved with the project;

"For me, Christmas began in spring or summer. And basically, our house in L.A., Nick was very cool to deal with it," she explained. "It was decorated kind of like this but with a little bit of reds and blues and greens and stuff, all since the summer. So I've been in the spirit, and this is a very creative moment for me personally and just to be working on this particular album right now has been exceptionally special for me."

Nick Cannon, A.J. Calloway and Gayle King were some of the guests at the festive event that took place at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall which was treated to a special Christmas-decoration.





Initial reviews for Merry Christmas II You soon followed and they are all unanimous: Mariah has delivered yet another winning Christmas album with vocals that will give you goosebumps!

Review by TheYBF
There are 4 new original Christmas songs on the album, and many of the usual classics like "Little Drummer Boy" and "First Noel."

One of our fave tracks is a beautiful duet with her mom, Patricia, on "O Come All Ye Faithful".  Her mother is an opera singer, so it was a rare sound of Mariah reminding us of her multi-octave abilities infused with her mom's operatic verses.  Chillbumps.  Simply fab.

Another one of our faves is her remake of the Charlie Brown Christmas song.  With the Charlie Brown pianos straight from the childhood movie playing at the beginning, it flipped into an actual song with Mariah singing the same song as the kids in the movie.

She also included a live performance of "O Holy Night" she did at the West Presbyterian Church with their choir in South Central, LA.  Gave us the same vibe as her live choir-backed performances of "Anytime You Need A Friend" and "I Want To Know What Love Is".

For our fellow Merry Christmas album stans, Mimi included an updated version of "All I Want For Christmas," complete with a remixed intro.  And wrapped the album with a fab version of "Auld Lang Syne".

Overall, her voice sounded better than it's sounded in years.  And it was the perfect mix of classics and originals.  Grade: a semi-biased A-

Review by Just Jared
"Oh Santa!" - The audience clapped along to this uptempo, energetic song!

"O Little Town of Bethlehem / Little Drummer Boy Medley" - A powerful mix of two Christmas classics - the song showed off Mariah's legendary pipes!

"Christmas Time Is In The Air Again" - Slow, sultry and understated number.

"The First Noel / Born is the King (Interlude)" - The song begins with a piano arrangement paired with Mariah's melismatic singing - as the chorus builds, an orchestra comes in and she belts it out big!

"When Christmas Comes" - A soulful R&B song featuring a horn section and an interlude of "Jingle Bells"

"Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) / Housetop Celebration" - The song samples the bass line of Chic's "Good Times" and turns the original on its head!

"Charlie Brown Christmas" - The song begins with the Peanuts classic "Linus and Lucy" before slowing down and going into a sexy, breathy update of "Christmas Time is Here".

"O Come All Ye Faithful / Hallelujah Chorus" (feat. Patricia Carey) - Mariah's mom, Patricia, sings classical opera while Mariah hits those sky high notes. Super powerful song and our favorite track from the album! Both Mom and Mariah's voices blend perfectly!

"O Holy Night" - Live - Mariah sings over an organ and backing choir at a church in South Central Los Angeles. If you don't get goosebumps on this track, check your pulse!

"All I Want for Christmas is You - Extra Festive" - The most successful holiday song in recent history gets a new orchestral introduction! When Mariah came out on stage, she dished that she'd call the song's arranger at 6 a.m. with thoughts on how to change it - and thanked him for his patience.

"Auld Lang Syne - The New Year's Anthem" - Begins with a piano introduction and a backing choir before a countdown begins and the song turns into a club banger!

Review by Rap-Up
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (Intro)"
Produced by Mariah Carey and Marc Shaiman
Chiming bells introduce the album, setting the tone with a lush orchestral background that segues into the following track.

"Oh Santa!"
Produced by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, and Bryan-Michael Cox
Many in attendance had already heard the ebullient sleigh bell-driven single, so they enjoyed the track while watching projected images showing Mariah with her dogs in front of snowmen, skiing with her husband, and sleeping by the fireside.

"O Little Town of Bethlehem / Little Drummer Boy (Medley)"
Produced by Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright, and Randy Jackson
The instruments are thick on this traditional jazzy number. Mariah pulls back on her vocals, allowing her voice to flutter over rolling percussion, dulcet flutes, and swelling strings. Of course, it wouldn't be a Mimi track without some bold singing near the end, but it finishes on a softer, heartwarming note.

"The First Noel / Born Is the King (Interlude)"
Produced by Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright, and Randy Jackson
A smoky piano introduces this bare ballad where Mariah flexes her vocal chops with her signature buttery trills. Strings join in after the first verse and chorus, culminating in a grandiose finish.

"When Christmas Comes"
Produced by Mariah Carey and James Poyser
The most contemporary R&B song on the album, this begins with a crackly brass section, playing like classic soul. "Because this Christmastime/ Get together, it's gonna be so nice/ Better than ever/ And boy, you're the one that I'll treasure/ I can't wait to unwrap your love/ When Christmas comes," sings Mimi before the song ends with a brief segue into "Jingle Bells."

"Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) / Housetop Celebration"
Produced by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, and Bryan-Michael Cox
Sampling Chic's "Good Times," this '80s hip-hop-inspired cut updates the seasonal standard with a pounding backbeat, heavily influenced by the classic So So Def sound.

"Charlie Brown Christmas"
Produced by Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright, and Randy Jackson
The classic piano instrumental fits snugly on the album, melding into "Christmas Time Is Here" from the classic TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas." The song slows to a seasonal, languid pace, heavy on the piano.

"O Come All Ye Faithful / Hallelujah Chorus" feat. Patricia Carey
Produced by Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright, and Randy Jackson
"This next number is very special because it features a lady that I would probably say is the most responsible for her gene pool spilling over into Mariah," said Reid, introducing the song. "It's her mother Patricia Carey, who's singing a song with Mariah."

The gospel-heavy tune sees Mariah taking the first verse, while her operatic mother assumes second verse duties. Mimi comes in right at the end of her mom's portion with a shrieking falsetto, closing out the song with an intergenerational duet.

"To be able to include my mother and work with her, that was really special," Mariah later added.

"O Holy Night" (Live from WPC in South Central Los Angeles)
Produced by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff
Recorded live at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in South Central Los Angeles, this gospel recording features a full band and backing chorus as Mariah nails the vocals. "It's really amazing, I'm so happy she included that on this recording," shared Reid.

"All I Want for Christmas Is You (Extra Festive)"
Produced by Mariah Carey, James "Big Jim" Wright, and Randy Jackson
With a new orchestral introduction, this American classic features newly recorded vocals from Mariah as well as a beefier backing chorus, fresh ad-libs, and an extended outro, sounding just as enjoyable as it did in 1994.

"It's a little known fact that she was one of the greatest writers of our time," said Reid of Mariah. "That song, which she wrote, is the most successful holiday song written and released in the modern era--and she wrote it. That's just phenomenal. We know a lot of songwriters. How many of them can say they truly wrote a standard? A true standard?"

Mariah later shared that she bugged composer Marc Shaiman about redoing the song's intro by calling him with ideas at 6 a.m. "I would call him and I was like, 'All I Want for Christmas' needs a new intro," she said. "No, I didn't leave that off this album, if there are any real fans out there, but that one is remade and the intro is so good."

"Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem)"
Closing the album, this features Mariah performing the classic tune with a mellow piano and strong chorus before voices count back from 10 to 1 and the party begins. "The New Year's Anthem" is the album's sole dance record, capping the holiday release with a feel-good jam.

Review by Showbiz411
Mariah Carey launched many new things last night at the Allen Room at Jazz Lincoln Center: her new album, which features-surprise-her mom, Patricia as a stunning operatic guest vocalist.

In the audience: Marc Shaiman, the great Broadway composer, who helped give Mariah arrangements, orchestrations, and new songs that make her notable eight octave voice sound terrific. Also on hand: Gayle King, and Mariah's phalanx of agents and lawyers.

And about the album: those who counted Mariah, guess what? She's back. From the Phil Spectorish remake of her classic holiday song "All I Want for Christmas Is You" to Shaiman's lush, gorgeous "Christmas Time is in the Air," Mariah nails the whole thing. Her voice has never sounded better. There's a nod to A Charlie Brown Christmas with a sample of Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts music mashed up with "Christmas Time is Here." I loved the funky R&B version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" mixed up with a Chic sample courtesy of Nile Rodgers.

Review by Parade Magazine
"Mariah loves Christmas -- and she probably spends way too much on it. She goes all out for this, so I hope that's coming through in the music." It was. From the first song, the effervescent "Oh Santa," to a duet with her mother on "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" to a live recording of "Oh Holy Night" from South Central L.A.'s Westminster Presbyterian Church, there was clapping, head-bobbing, and seat-dancing galore.

MERRY CHRISTMAS II YOU is now available for pre-order on iTunes.

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