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Sia reinvents what it means to create a Christmas album with ‘Everyday Is Christmas’

(Sia Official Facebook Page)

After nearly two years since her previous album, “This Is Acting,” Sia Furler has returned to delight fans with a Christmas album. “Everyday Is Christmas” features ten original Christmas tunes ranging from ballads to cheery carols.

The Australian songstress completed this entire project in only two weeks. According to Furler, “Everyday Is Christmas” was created in response to the lack of good Christmas music that’s been made in the past few years.

Furler isn’t wrong — the only popular Christmas songs by contemporary artists have only been remakes of hundred-year-old carols, the only exception being Mariah Carey’s 1994 hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Any artist attempting to write the next Christmas hit is up for a challenge, but if any artist were to rise to that challenge, it would be her.

While it is doubtful that any of these songs will surpass Carey’s, Furler still creates a promising record. “Everyday Is Christmas” is successful in its ability to create catchy contemporary music. Through unique melodies, clever wordplay and just about every Christmas cliché, Furler reinvents what Christmas music can be created.

“Santa’s Coming For Us” is the strongest contender for the next Christmas hit. Its upbeat tempo, jingle bells and bright jazzy instrumentation evoke a relaxed, playful feeling that makes listeners feel at ease. The song is heavily influenced by jazz, yet still feels current. With a title like “Santa’s Coming For Us,” it sounds ominous, but with glossy instrumentation and lyrics, the listener can’t help but smile and bop their head. This is the makeup of multiple songs for the album. There is such an abundance of artificial happiness packaged in each tune that it almost feels like something sinister is looming in the background.

 

Listening to songs written over a century ago creates a gap between the listener and the artist. People listen to Christmas music to feel good, but rarely will they listen to reflect on themselves. Furler’s music isn’t like this. She takes clichés and gifts them to her listeners, delivering sarcasm and cynicism about the holidays that parallel our generation’s attitudes to current events.

“Ho Ho Ho” is by far the best example of this. Its references to alcohol, a group of misfits coming together and the inclusion of a shattered glass sound effect gives the song a gloomy tone. It is a song perfectly tailored for the ostracized and lonely, far from anything one would expect to be on a Christmas album. Yet with the clunky keys and a triumphant brass section, the listener can easily transport themselves into the song’s blissful musical setting.

Even “Puppies Are Forever,” a song about finding a puppy in a dog pound and falling in love with it, isn’t free of the truth. A song that features the cuddliest puppy yips in the background also includes the lyric “But will you love ‘em when they’re old and slow?”

The instrumentation of “Everyday is Christmas” follows that of the typical Christmas song. The lyrics, however, have tiny additions, such as overcompensating happiness that make the album off-putting and bring reality to Christmas. Everyone wants a Christmas album to be filled with joy to forget about their problems, but Furler exposes these false personas we associate with Christmas music and instead writes about the darkness we face during the holiday season.

With all this sarcasm, some can assume that Furler’s Christmas album is a failure. She doesn’t bring us joy, she didn’t let us forget our problems and just enjoy the holiday season for what it is. But that is not true; she does.

By creating cynical music, Furler does bring us joy. There are many times in the album where listeners can catch themselves chuckling, and if they don’t want to listen to the cynicism, they can take the album for what it is and let the sleigh bells take them away all throughout December.

By exposing this facade of happiness during the holiday season Furler makes a statement about Christmas. We choose to make Christmas a time where we ignore all of our problems and force ourselves into silence, in fear of ruining the Christmas spirit. Yet all of our issues still exist during Christmas, and ignoring them and ignoring others’ leaves everyone unhappy. By creating this type of Christmas album, Furler makes the loneliest people during Christmas find a sense of joy and feel understood.

Furler set out to create a good Christmas music, and she succeeded. “Everyday is Christmas” is the perfect contemporary take on the classic Christmas album. Her wide range of music and messages offers numerous additions for Christmas playlists that will play on for decades.

Troy Kowalchuk can be reached at tkowalchuk@umass.edu.

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