Call me a Grinch or whatever, but under normal circumstances, I don't really want to see or hear anything Christmas related until after Thanksgiving...at least. But nothing about this year, or this very week, even, can be considered "normal circumstances." So, with an eggnog in one hand and a gingerbread man in the other, I say, "Bring on the holiday cheer!" as we begin to review holiday music here at SoulBounce. First up is our girl Tori Kelly with her very first seasonal album, A Tori Kelly Christmas.
The festive project – executive produced by GRAMMY-winning legend Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and her manager Scooter Braun – features several traditional and modern-day classics, plus two original tunes written by Ms. Kelly. Babyface, who also duets with Tori on "Let It Snow," puts his hit-making talents to good use throughout the album. “I’m so grateful to Babyface for helping me create an album that I am so proud of," Kelly enthused. "I still can’t believe that I got to work with such a legend on my first-ever Christmas album. He really brought my vision to life and made every song so special."
While most of these songs have already been covered several times over, the combo of Tori's gorgeous vocals and Face's musicianship make A Tori Kelly Christmas a noteworthy project. Highlights include the rousing gospel medley "Joy To The World/Joyful, Joyful," a hip-hop and bounce-infused redux of "Sleigh Ride," a downtempo flip of "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and the stirring medley "O Come, O Come Emmanuel/O Come All Ye Faithful," enhanced by dramatic cello and soaring violins. Whimsical interlude "Elf" will make you smile with its mirthful harmonies. Plus, it serves double-duty as an intro to the swinging Babyface duet "Let It Snow."
Original pop songs "25th" and "Gift That Keeps On Giving" are mistletoe-ready and radio-perfect without being cheesy. Don't be surprised if either (or both, really) become holiday staples for years to come. In a (chest)nutshell, if you like your Christmas music filled with soulful harmonies, clever instrumentation and warm feels, then A Tori Kelly Christmas should be high on your wishlist. Head to your favorite retailer or purchase the exclusive Target edition, which features "Kid Again On Christmas" (another original) and Tori's interpretation of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You."