October 10, 2017 Gwen Stefani – You Make It Feel Like Christmas (Album Review)
No matter the genre of music that you might prefer, you cannot help but love Gwen Stefani! The woman turns everything she touches to gold and, like a ray of sonic sunshine, she is just so damned addictive. What could be full of more happiness than this multi-talented woman creating a snow-filled, Christmas fiesta of flying reindeer proportions? That is exactly what Stefani does on You Make It Feel Like Christmas, available everywhere for digital download, streaming, as well as on physical CD on Interscope Records as of October 6, 2017.
Those who do not know the name Gwen Stefani honestly must be living under a rock and trying to keep possession of the one true ring. This multi-talented woman is probably best known as the co-founder and lead vocalist of Alternative Rock band No Doubt. Stefani has also had a successful solo career in Pop music, and is a fashion designer, actress, TV personality, and all-around inspiring gal. The Grammy Award-winning Stefani does it all and does it with panache!
With a musical career spanning just over thirty years now, there are few stones that Stefani has left unturned: except, perhaps, a Christmas collection. You Make It Feel Like Christmas is the next step, a twelve-song collection that gently blends Christmas classics along with original material created in the love-filled and joyous spirit of the Holidays. Complete with a guest appearance from beau Blake Shelton, this collection puts a nostalgic yet Pop-tastic spin on December that only Miss Stefani could provide!
You Make It Feel Like Christmas begins with a tried-and-true favorite, “Jingle Bells.” You cannot exactly rewrite such a well-known treasure, but Stefani does a wonderfully Jazzy job of adding a retro zest to the track, complete with some toe-tapping and trumpets. Similarly, Stefani does “Let It Snow” beautiful justice but there is no reauthoring or rearranging here; she rides those gentle white flakes through the air, paying perfect homage to the classic.
Full of glee, she can not wait to give all her loving to her best friend on “My Gift Is You,” a lovely new offering that sets a wonderful beat. Happily, this reads like a love song and not a Holiday song: just a wonderfully done track that is suitable for any season. A radiant rendition of “Silent Night” follows and feels classic already.
When she was a little girl, Stefani asked Santa who she should give her love to; so innocent, she was not yet sure where God would take her. Or so goes the tale of finding true love that is “When I Was a Little Girl,” one of the album’s originals. While there is a clear Christmas connection here, this is the story of a wish list with love at the top – not necessarily a request to Saint Nick. Stefani’s voice is especially stellar on “Last Christmas,” with those wonderfully retro background vocals that create a nostalgic yet fully modern Christmas hit; you can almost envision a pin-up styled Stefani, swaying her hips as she coos this sensual classic.
Album namesake, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas,” is one of the collection’s original offerings – perhaps its best – and features Blake Shelton. The pair literally make beautiful music together in this wonderfully upbeat love song that will have you and your Secret Santa dancing together under the mistletoe. The yesteryear feels continue into “Under The Christmas Lights,” a Jazzy little number with trumpets that sees Stefani celebrating love under the red and green lights. This superb moment segues flawlessly into the album’s next cover song, “Santa Baby.” Everyone from Madonna to Ariana Grande, Michael Bublé to Taylor Swift have tackled Eartha Kitt’s sexy favorite, and now we can add Stefani to that list. She does a wonderful job of toeing the sensual line, keeping the playfulness apparent in this flirty-fun favorite.
Stefani also does a superb job with “White Christmas,” setting a steady beat and allowing her vocals to shine on the classic. You can’ not rewrite a universally known favorite like this, but Stefani certainly injects a dose of feisty passion into her performance. Meanwhile, original offering “Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes” is a fun little romp that is clearly an ode to Stefani’s man Shelton, who has some stunning baby blues and makes every day “feel just like a Holiday” (Cue the awws!). The collection comes to a splendid crescendo with the beautiful ballad “Christmas Eve,” where strings and piano accompany Stefani in a marvelously peaceful, closing number.
With You Make It Feel Like Christmas, Gwen Stefani has created the perfect soundtrack for your next Holiday dinner party. There are true red-and-green favorites alongside brand-spanking-new offerings, a gentle mix that always feels classic, nostalgic, and yet uniquely Stefani; her gorgeous voice does justice to all of your December favorites, while her original material injects some new spirit into the most wonderful time of year.
A Deluxe Edition of the album, available exclusively at Target, features a hardback book with 24 pages of exclusive images from the making of the album and Stefani’s personal holiday photos. Additionally, if you require even more Stefani, a limited edition white vinyl version of the album will be released October 20th. All this in mind, from start to finish, this is a fun Christmas collection that will fill any stocking with joy! So kiss under the mistletoe and dance with your favorite elf, because Christmas came in October this year! Joy to the world, CrypticRock gives Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas 5 of 5 stars.
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