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‘Kylie Christmas’: How The Snow Queen Claimed Her Throne
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In Depth

‘Kylie Christmas’: How The Snow Queen Claimed Her Throne

Kylie Minogue and Christmas – it’s an obvious combination, but it took three decades for the Princess Of Pop to record her Christmas album.

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Everyone knows that festive records can be hit-or-miss affairs. The treatments diverge obviously enough: safe-as-houses remakes of perennial favourites, leftfield creative reinterpretations of that extensive back-catalogue or, for the very brave, new songs. Kylie Minogue’s Christmas album, Kylie Christmas, doesn’t entirely follow a single path, but it is an unashamed crowd-pleaser with a few surprises thrown in along the way – stocking-fillers and gift-wrapped delights, if you like.

Listen to ‘Kylie Christmas’ here.

The Snow Queen takes her throne

For this 2015 release, Kylie’s cover of Yazoo’s Only You, issued as a duet with James Corden, was the first signal that fans should expect something of the unexpected. The comedian and talk-show host was an unlikely choice (how the fans would have adored a reunion with Jason Donovan, who was denied a festive chart-topper with Kylie in 1988 by Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe And Wine), but it was a fun remake of 1983’s UK Christmas No.1 (in its cover by a cappella flash-in-the-pans The Flying Pickets).

Nine further covers on the standard release of Kylie Christmas (there would be an expanded deluxe version that first year, and a reissue, billed the Snow Queen Edition, 12 months on) saw Kylie billed as executive producer. Some are predictable enough: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter (an underrated Connie Francis single that was remade by Gabriella Cilmi in 2008), Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year tick the most obvious of boxes, but there is space for a surprisingly spirited duet with Iggy Pop on Christmas Wrapping and a charming take on Pretenders’ 2000 Miles (Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde would join Kylie to perform the song as a duet at the A Kylie Christmas live show staged at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 11 December 2015).

In a thrilling festive surprise, Santa delivered to the fans Santa Baby, which had been issued as an extra track on Kylie’s 2000 single Please Stay, had already been creeping into annual radio rotation in the years since its original release, but this was its first appearance on a Kylie album, while Frank Sinatra’s vocals were blended into a take on Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. What makes Kylie Christmas more interesting, however, are the originals – most notably Every Day’s Like Christmas, a hazy, midtempo pop track written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin (he also assisted on backing vocals) and produced by Stargate. Kylie recorded a video for the song and then, in a thrilling festive surprise, issued a Stock Aitken Waterman remix, co-ordinated with Pete Waterman as a nod to her PWL past. Santa had certainly delivered to the fanbase!

Another nod to that crowd came with Kylie Christmas’ deluxe edition, for which Kylie created a down-under summer Christmas jam called 100 Degrees (It’s Still Disco To Me) with sister Dannii. The track was heavily promoted in her homeland and even issued on collectable vinyl. While its lyrics didn’t quite translate to the Northern Hemisphere, the song has outlived its festive framework and remains a rare creative pairing for the siblings.

Who can resist a little sparkle and tinsel?

Kylie co-wrote that duet and two other songs on Kylie Christmas’ standard edition – White December and Christmas Isn’t Christmas Until You Get Here, both with Karen Poole (of Alisha’s Attic fame) and pop stalwart Matt Prime – and Cried Out Christmas for the deluxe. Longtime collaborator Richard Stannard (most famous for his work with Spice Girls) helped bring 100 Degrees to the boil and co-wrote another decent original, Oh Santa, which also appears on the deluxe edition.

Released on 13 November 2015, Kylie Christmas marked a creative resting-spot for Kylie before she refocused more certainly on 2018’s country-disco opus, Golden. But the record sold well and worked brilliantly as a conciliatory manoeuvre on the middle-market pop audience. By this stage in her career, Kylie had little to prove but her ability to keep reading the room. In finally getting round to releasing a Christmas album, she proved those skills remained undimmed – and, let’s face it, who can really resist a little sparkle and tinsel at that time of year?

Check out our best Kylie Minogue songs for Kylie’s non-Christmas crackers.

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