So after just one day of teasers on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, pop’s Soprano princess Ariana Grande has dropped “Christmas & Chill“, her second holiday EP after 2013’s “Christmas Kisses“. The latest compilation is a six-track effort, featuring completely original material (if you think she’s about to cover “All I Want For Christmas Is You” anytime soon…).
Here’s the thing: I love Ariana. Sure she might not be the best at diction, and she relies on a talented group of songwriters and producers, but come on… THAT VOICE. Her regular
abuse summoning of her four octaves is reason enough for making her our karaoke goddess. I’ll slurp up new material any day, especially around this time of the year. After all, Ariana and Christmas go together like Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé in a knock-off holiday CD.
Besides making it available on streaming platform Spotify, the full EP is also available for listening on her official VEVO account (is she gonna make any money off this?). Here’s our thoughts and reactions to each track, so just hit play on that playlist above and join us!
“Mmm… whatchu say?” Really whatchu sayin, girl? It’s hard to hear what the lyrics are here but the production here is, as usual, on point. I dig the descending bells here; kinda like having Tim Burton infuse some darkness into her saccharine sweet tone. Maybe try a Halloween album next year, hmm?
“Wit It This Christmas“
Wait this sounds like a regular Ariana song… but with bells and jingly things. Still no clue what she’s singing in the chorus, but that mini vocal climax in the second verse has me WEAK.
“Are you down for somebody’s milk and cookies?” has me picturing Santa as a sexual object and it’s making me very confused. Also kinda reminds me of Miley Cyrus‘ “Milky Milky Milk” which is about as far from The Nice List as you can go (and it’s not about literal milk… figure it out).
We’re at the second chorus right now and nope, still no idea what the lyrics are here. “Argue, bae?” (We looked it up on Genius – it’s “Are you wit it?”)
Playful, flirty, and infectious as hell. The runtime’s less than 2 minutes, but Ariana is at the height of her powers here with that monster of a chorus. Whoever decided not to append this with a bridge deserves no presents this year.
Ryan Tedder has writing credits on this, which explains a lot. That man can write 5 hit songs before lunch.
“Not Just On Christmas“
My immediate response upon hearing the strings at the start was “cheeeese fest“. With probably the lushest orchestration on the entire EP, the background music itself could probably be the soundtrack to an episode of “Tom & Jerry“. Yes kids, remember that show?
The vocal recordings and post-production are just a little sloppy near the end of this, but then again, she recorded this whole EP in less than a week (and studio sessions are pricey).
Loved this right from the intro. Modelled after the countdown-that-lasts-forever “The Twelve Days Of Christmas“, Ariana thankfully takes it down a notch, only reaching day number six in this original.
It’s also chock-full of references! From hints about her relationship with dancer Ricky Alvarez (yes, the guy in #DonutGate), to one of her oldest songs ever, “Tattooed Heart“, this might just be the centrepiece of “Christmas & Chill”. Can we get a video for this, please?
OK WAIT A MINUTE BECAUSE I was pretty sure she sang “feeling like a midget light” before Genius revealed the actual lyric to be “feeling like it’s mid-July“. She could really be singing about elves, no?
A ukulele supports this light-hearted, feel-good track, a welcome respite from the heavy production that’s been carrying the EP so far. You can almost hear the many, many acoustic covers of this song that are bound to pop up this week.
A fade outro is expected and delivered here, though an uncommon step for Ariana, who prefers an abrupt cutoff followed by a laugh (think “Baby I“), almost like she’s saying “yeah that last note was pretty high but pfft, I’m Ariana Grande“.
DANamic.ORG’s Rating: 3.5/5
Yes, I can imagine myself singing this over and over this Christmas, even in 30ºC Singapore weather. Right off the bat, there’s no “Santa Tell Me” here, that woefully-underplayed single from the previous Christmas release, but that can be achieved with a fun video for “True Love”. I’m almost certain of it.