Mariah Carey's second Christmas album Merry Christmas II You has been released, but can it match the runaway success of her first, Merry Christmas to you. Being a bit of an old Scrooge, it doesn't look good for the album even before its had a listen but this collection, minus Oh Santa and Auld Lang Syne (which is a terrible 90's club throwback), sound so evocative of the Christmas of yesteryear -think Bing Crosby and Dean Martin- that they even melted my cold heart.
The Stand-out song has to be "Come All Ye Faithful-Hallelujah" which is a duet between Mariah Carey and her opera-singer mother, Patricia Carey.To hear Patricia's thick, steadfast, soprano being danced around by Mariah's nimble melisma is a wonder to the ears and the meeting of the classical style of singing with its contemporary counterpart is a Christmas present come early.
Mariah's voice is in fine form, and in similar strength and texture to the late 90's. The most noticeable improvements will be apparent to any fan in the quality and amount of vocal runs Mariah Conducts, and the use of a solid vibrato on many of the belted notes (something which has been sorely missing since her Emancipation).The vocal quality is so improved from her last album, Memoires of an Imperfect Geisha, that one has to wonder if any studio trickery has gone into the vocals on the album. I suppose we shall know soon enough when it comes to the live renditions of the songs during the promotion period.
Whatever the case, this is a solid Christmas album that, although may not be able to reproduce another classic single like All I want for Christmas, is certainly a more enjoyable and classy listen as a whole than her previous effort.
Download: Come All Ye Faithful-Hallelujah, The First Noel-Born is the King Interlude, Christmas Time is in Air Again
Avoid: Auld Lang Syne
Summary: The voice has returned, a Christmas miracle perhaps? Must have Christmas album.
Merry Christmas II You vocal range : Bb2- Bb6 (4 octaves)