For those of us who haven’t lost our childlike sense of wonder and joy as the Christmas season rolls around, there is a new take on holiday music provided by John Legend. Although released on Oct. 26, it was difficult to truly appreciate the new music until after Thanksgiving. Brief nod to the executive idiot that wanted to cash in on our consumerist tendencies before it was truly the holiday season. Just because there are Christmas trees in Target doesn’t mean we want the holiday spirit shoved down our throats. Luckily, the smooth jazz and angelic quality to Legend’s voice takes away the frustration.
In his first studio album since his 2016 Darkness and Light, the musician puts his own spin on Christmas classics with quicker tempos and soulful vocals. As far as holiday music goes, Legend brings his own style to the often times repetitive Christmas songs we hear every year. It is most comparable to Michael Bublé’s Christmas, with Legend’s typical style spinning the standard Christmas song with soul-powered vocals, instrumental interludes, altered tempos, special guests and a few original songs.
The album consists of 14 songs; eight are Christmas classics and the other six are original tracks. Legend has taken the classics and made them recognizable, but new and different. It takes a few listens of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” to be able to sing along with the new tempo and pacing. His version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” which features Esperanza Spalding, has been praised as the best classic song of the album. Legend and Spalding’s voices compliment each other and the slower melody as the song builds. His original songs meet every expectation of what a holiday song should be. I have a feeling several will be added to the canon of classic celebrity Christmas songs, alongside Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
Of the original tracks, “Bring Me Love” is the one to play repetitively until you are quietly humming it to yourself while waiting in the Starbucks queue. Legend sings about needing a special someone to love during the holidays, and the song is made sweeter by imagining him singing it to his wife, Chrissy Teigen. The song is so catchy it is currently being used in the Christmas advertisements for Target and Macy’s.
Typically when a musical celebrity releases a new Christmas song or album, most are romantic, and Legend is no exception. However, Legend is unique in his music because when he sings about love and family his audience knows exactly whom he is crooning about. Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, and their two children, Luna and Miles, are very much in the public eye. This would explain the couple’s televised Christmas special, “A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy.” If you would like to listen to Legend’s new album — including his songs with musical guests like Stevie Wonder — with the visual component added and cooking sketches featuring his wife Chrissy and celebrity guests including Kris Jenner, it is premiering on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Until then, the album makes for a great holiday atmosphere in the car, while studying for exams or even playing softly during your annual holiday party.