sun 30/04/2017

CD: Susan Boyle - Home for Christmas | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Susan Boyle - Home for Christmas

CD: Susan Boyle - Home for Christmas

Is SuBo's new one tasty like mince pies or a Christmas turkey?

'Home for Christmas' is the musical version of an awkward guest at a party
Boyle: competent but not Christmassy

Few were surprised this week, when Susan Boyle revealed she had been diagnosed with Asperger’s. Some used this knowledge as an opportunity to have another go at Simon Cowell's and his role in putting her in the spotlight. But the brittleness so apparent in Boyle’s inter-personal interactions also reflects the problems many perceive in her style of music. For instance why, instead of making you feel fuzzy and warm, Home for Christmas simply leaves you feeling a little uncomfortable.

Christmas songs should make you want to invite the artist over for the holidays. That's true of Mariah Carey, Noddy Holder, even Bob Dylan. Home for Christmas, however, is the musical version of an awkward guest at a party. Of course it is perfectly competent. But competent is hardly Christmassy. In fact, Home for Christmas would have been a lot more festive if it were drunken and shambolic. And splicing in the voice of Elvis on “O Come All Ye Faithful” does absolutely nothing to loosen things up (its sickly-sweet promo video overleaf says a lot about the entire album) The same trick pulled with Johnny Mathis on “When a Child is Born” is even less successful.

I could go on. But suffice it to say that only two songs really work. One is “I Believe in Father Christmas” (which may be because Greg Lake’s original is itself pretty stiff) and the other is “The Christmas Waltz” whose light, floating air seemingly comes out of nowhere. To Boyle’s fans - a surprisingly passionate bunch who will take great exception to almost everything I have written -  let me say that, as a charity single, I hope “O Come All Ye Faithful” sells by the bucket load. Furthermore I am thrilled Boyle has overcome her difficulties and had a successful career. I just don’t think Home for Christmas is good or bad enough to really cut it on its own merits.

Overleaf: watch the video for Boyle's "duet" with Elvis, 'O Come All Ye Faithful':

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