At a time when original Christmas songs are becoming more and more abundant (we see you, Cruz Beckham), it’s easy to forget about all of the artists who have made their own holiday contributions in the past.
If you’re a pop music fan, the ’90s were a gold mine for Christmas albums: Mariah Carey, *NSYNC, Cyndi Lauper, 98 Degrees — the list goes on. But once 2000 came along, Christina Aguilera graced us with My Kind of Christmas. Yes, the Genie in a Bottle did What a Girl Wants and released an 11-song compilation with a few originals as well as her own takes on holiday classics.
For some reason, Aguilera’s album isn’t really one that gets circulated annually when local radio stations go into full-on Christmas mode, even despite reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Holiday Albums chart. So as Aguilera turns 36 years old Sunday (Dec. 18), we felt it was only appropriate to celebrate her birthday by celebrating this album.
My Kind of Christmas opens with an original track, “Christmas Time,” which kicks off the holiday record in a very Aguilera way with some scintillating fa la las. If she weren’t singing about St. Nick, mistletoe and decorating the tree, the song could easily pass as an Aguilera hit like “Genie” or “Fighter.”
Oh, and when she filmed the official live video for the song, she surprised everyone with Bow Wow (when he was still Lil Bow Wow) to really make the jazzed-up yuletide tune a jam.
She continues with another original, “This Year,” bringing out her R&B side with a seductive whispering portion reminiscent of the ones she features in “Genie in a Bottle.” Then comes a series of classics that Aguilera was not afraid to make her own, showing off her vocal range with several belt-out moments and her signature runs (which are especially prevalent on the album’s later covers, “This Christmas” and “The Christmas Song”). Plus, Aguilera began her version of the bluesy “Merry Christmas, Baby” with a sassy rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” — making for an unexpectedly flawless combo.
Perhaps the best original on My Kind of Christmas is “These Are the Special Times,” as the ballad focuses more on the sentimental parts of the holiday season rather than the Christmas gimmicks which really allows for Aguilera’s powerful voice to shine through.
And to close out the album, Aguilera spun her version of “The Christmas Song” into a disco-infused fist-bumper that almost sounds like an ode to Cher. Seriously, what’s not to love about this record?
Indulge in My Kind of Christmas below and remind yourself that this album needs to make at least one of your Christmas party playlists every year.