Review Summary: All I want for Christmas is some diction lessons.
There’s a good reason most modern-day Christmas albums have 1-2 original songs on them at max.; it’s a subject that’s been exhausted of good ideas by and large. To tackle a full-length album of Christmas-themed originals requires an originality that few dare to strive for and even less actually possess. Certainly Sia seems to believe she has the originality necessary for such an endeavor, as Everyday is Christmas
, her first full-length release after her move from RCA to Atlantic, showcases. And it’s hard to dispute this; the tracks here are very much rooted in Sia’s trademark desperate, weathered life perspective, a unique vantage point to take for a holiday-themed record.
But for as nice as this niche seems to be in theory, the execution is marred by perhaps the most glaringly problematic thing about this idea: Sia’s voice is not one that gives these tracks the impression of “holiday tunes”. It fits well enough with slower tracks like the affecting “Snowflake”, but those songs don’t feel as much like “holiday” songs as they do traditional Sia ballads with some winter/holiday-themed imagery. The tracks that do hit you over the head with those characteristics most often found in Christmas songs (sleigh bells, lyrics concerning Santa and trees/mistletoe, etc.) neither suit Sia’s voice nor hold up as holiday tracks in and of themselves. “Ho Ho Ho” hints at its being a portrayal of a depressed, drunk Christmas bash, but after the same few lyrics have been repeated for the seventh or eighth time, the effect is almost completely diluted. And while the sentiment conveyed in “Puppies Are Forever” is lovely enough, it’s difficult to figure out which contains more cute-sy fluff: the puppies or the lyrics.
The other primary issue with Everyday is Christmas
is that it doesn’t stick enough with the aspects that do work; when Sia is committed to singing from an alternate perspective, one that isn’t as reliant on “festive cheer” tropes or anything like that, what she produces is relatively easy on the ears. But at the same time, she seems to be trying desperately to gear some material here towards those who do wholeheartedly buy into those tropes, and that just isn’t playing to her strengths as a writer or as a singer. There’s a solid holiday record floating around here somewhere, but there’s not nearly enough direction for it to manifest itself properly. So just know that whenever you get around to creating your “warm, cozy, by the fireside” playlists for the week of Christmas, this is an album you can probably just pass over without missing anything substantial.