Mariah Carey finally tops the charts: but is it overrated? Opinion piece on the ever-lasting success of All I want for Christmas is You.
As the most wonderful time of the year looms to an end, and we bid farewell to cold winter nights and bright twinkling lights; we begin to reflect on what brings this celebration to life. The truest indication of festivities commencing unsurprisingly lies amidst the euphonious vocals and upbeat rhythms of Mariah Carey’s holiday classic. “All I want for Christmas is You” is certainly no stranger to the Christmas music scene, often facing criticism for being overrated and overplayed. But is it really?
Released in 1994, it is undeniable that Mariah Carey had reached the pinnacle of her career once “All I want for Christmas is You” began to dominate the genre of Christmas tunes. To some, Carey is just as significant to the festive season as Santa Claus, Father Christmas himself. Alongside millions of fans, the ever-lasting success of this timeless bop has cultivated a reputation for this pop princess and raked in millions for her each and every year. The Economist reported that Carey had earned £45 million from the song alone in December 2019 and is expected to make even more in 2020. Despite the festive season amidst a global pandemic, listeners in the United Kingdom managed to bring the masterpiece to the top of the British Charts in the second week of December. And I am not ashamed to admit that I am one of these listeners!
As a self-proclaimed Christmas fanatic, holiday tunes are an integral part of my nights and “All I Want for Christmas is You” has easily obtained the top spot on my playlist! It would be beyond disrespectful to the Christmas mascot herself, if I did not justify that the perennial track is not overrated and it’s ever-lasting success is rightfully deserved.
Unlike conventional Christmas carols, Carey took an alternative approach towards crafting her phenomenal record. Back in the 90s, when the song was released, many songs in the genre were pre-released classics or renditions by upcoming artists. Christmas songs were far from the ‘norm’ and releasing a Christmas album was a risky move on Carey’s part. This different direction of Christmas music paved the way for future artists such as Ariana Grande and Kelly Clarkson, to release their own Christmas albums. As one of the pioneers of the holiday music scene, I believe it would be a reach to label this endeavour as overrated.
The song itself is written with flair and brilliance; with a melody that does not overwhelm the ears and catchy lyrics that have been impossible for many to forget. Showcasing her often-overlooked song-writing skills, Carey’s accompaniment of her prodigious vocals, subtle sleigh bells and complimentary music chords produced an ethereal track. Carey also introduces a mature theme of romance yet seamlessly blends it into the joyous, festive tune. Filled with references to the season like Christmas trees, stockings, mistletoe and even her Xmas counterpart St Nick, it is almost impossible to not feel the festive spirit when listening. Focusing on the merry elements rather than the religious origins of the holiday in her hit, did separate the song from other hymns and carols.
With the success that followed Carey’s modern-day classic, it would be disparaging to recognise her as anything other than a force to be reckoned with. In my opinion, for another artist to claim Carey’s position at the top, it would take a lot more than raw talent. Frankly speaking, it seems nearly impossible for anyone to release a Christmas song that would be able to have a greater outreach and maintain its place on the top. I believe Carey’s hit is indispensable, and even songs that are better will not be able to reach the “classic” status that “All I want for Christmas is You” has attained over nearly three decades.
All in all, I would have to argue that the ageless song is not overrated; despite the many who roll their eyes every time they hear the infamous bells and Carey’s harmony in any store during the month of December. There is room for debate on if it is overplayed, but that seems to be the faults of us fans instead! However, it cannot be debated that Carey’s hard work and talent is what truly made her a household name. While this festive song has now returned to hiding for another eleven months; what better anthem is there to blast while walking in a winter wonderland?