Is November 1st too early to start listening to Christmas music? Apparently, Columbia Records didn’t think so when they released Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas on this day 25 years ago. They didn’t even let people have Thanksgiving dinner before hitting them with the jingle bells. Mariah was apprehensive about doing the project at all. Back then a Christmas album was something older artists did at the end of their careers. At the time, she was 24 and had only racked up four years in the music business. Releasing MC turned out to be a smart move in the end since it went on to become one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all-time. So, put on your Santa hat and slide down this ranking of the album’s ten songs.
10. Jesus Born on this Day
I can’t get behind a children’s choir. I get the sentiment and why someone thought it would be cute, but their little voices make this track sound cheesy. This isn’t Barney’s Christmas album.
9. Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child
Mariah goes for a more traditional gospel feel with this one. The results are boring. It’s the song you would fall asleep to in the middle of a church service.
8. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Eh. Santa didn’t need come to town this time.
7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
This is a perfectly fine cover, but the song is so associated with singer Darlene Love that nobody else should attempt it. Not even Mariah.
6. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)
Short and sweet, but still very pretty. Hark, indeed.
5. Silent Night
A beautiful traditional track. It’s the song you put on while sitting by a cozy fire.
4. Joy to the World
A rousing rendition that actually exudes joy. Even better is the live performance from 1994, where Mariah really breaks it down with an enthusiastic choir. Feel, feel feel it!
3. Miss You Most at Christmas Time
The second-best original song on the album. It finds Mariah pining for her guy during the holiday season. Typically, Christmas music focuses on the happier, joyous side of life. But I like a sadder song too. The holidays can be a melancholy reflective time for some. Why not wallow in you egg nog for a little bit.
2. O Holy Night
I’m not one for traditional religious Christmas music, but this version of OHN has always won me over. Her vocal here is gorgeous. Deep, rich, and moving. The backup singers add to the fullness of the track. And the high note near the end always makes me happy.
1. All I Want for Christmas is You
The moment you hear the first music box-like notes on that keyboard, you know Christmas is coming. Literally. Then Mariah’s kinda-a capella vocal comes in, followed by those loud booms. It really sound s like something that came out of the 60s/Phil Specotr/wall of sound era. At the same time, it’s fresh and modern. So, the song can appeal to anyone. That’s why it has lasted so long and is still relevant. Last year it made it to the #3 spot on the Billboard 100. Hopefully it goes to #1 for this year’s anniversary. That would be quite festive.