It's that time of year when the holidays bring us all together for family and friends gatherings with festive feasts. Rather you're listening to online radio or creating your own playlist for the occasions, gently playing holiday music sets a tone for special memories. If you're creating your own playlist, Kelly Clarkson has one of those voices that can do anything but even more so, her voice is made for Christmas music. In 2013, she released her long awaited holiday album Wrapped in Red where she had complete control of the project she made. Teaming up solely with producer Greg Kurstin, who happens to be Jewish and didn't know any of the classics, Clarkson and Kurstin put together a memorable set for decades to come. AXS is taking a look at the best 5 tracks for your holiday playlist.
The energetic "Run Run Rudolph" is right up Clarkson's alley. Her production has that Chuck Berry flavor with honky tonk rockin' vocals and enough playfulness to make it hard not to dance along. Gritty and sly, "Run Run Rudolph" is a stand out track on Clarkson's first holiday set.
Released as the lead single, "Underneath the Tree" was written by Kelly Clarkson and Kurstin. Uplifting and almost anthem-like, the track is reminiscent of Mariah Carey's iconic hit "All I Want for Christmas" with bells and chimes lighting up the holiday season.
Having complete control over the project when approached by label RCA, Clarkson was able to incorporate her diverse stylings into the Christmas record. "Blue Christmas" brings in a country tone with pitch bends and coos with enough twang to put it on country radio. It's virtually a throwback to old school country.
One of the special songs on Wrapped in Red is a dedication to Clarkson's husband Brandon Blackstock. "Winter Dreams (Brandon's Song)" was co-written with guitarist Aben Eubanks along with his wife who happens to be Clarkson's assistant, Ashley Arrison. Dreamy, for lack of better words, the song about being swept off the feet and in love during the holiday sums up how the KC was feeling while creating the record.
There are so many classics on Wrapped in Red. Scaling back her powerful pipes, Irving Berlin's classic "White Christmas" is a tender moment with smokey vocals and husky undertones. While there are so many cover versions of the song, it stands out as another top notch track on the 2013 holiday best-seller.
And just for fun...
Originally recorded in 2011 for an iTunes EP, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is the classiest holiday tune Clarkson has recorded. It was then released on 2012's Greatest Hits: Chapter One and the Target deluxe edition of Wrapped in Red in 2013. Resisting belting until the end of the song, it's subtle tangled up with blues and jazz. It proves evermore that Kelly Clarkson can make her own any song before her.