Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kicking off the season with Elizabeth Chan!

November is here, and with the cool temps, going-dormant lawn, and Christmas baking plans starting to stir, comes Der Bingle's annual full leap in to Christmas music!  And it's catching - when I got home this afternoon my 16 year old son was playing NBA 2014 on the PS3 while listening to Christmas music.  He said "It's never too early for Christmas music".  That's my boy :-)

So, kicking off the season here at Merry and Bright is a review of a new album for the 2014 Christmas season by one of our favorites, Elizabeth Chan.  This year, Elizabeth has given us another solid album of all original Christmas songs.  Some are re-imagined versions from last year's "Everyday Holidays" and some are new songs.

The album opens with a softer, more personal sounding version of "Fa La La", Elizabeth's single from 2013.  Titled "Fa La La (Acoustic)", it's a great new version of one of Elizabeth's best songs, sure to please.  Track 3, "Wouldn't Be a Merry Christmas", is also a new interpretation, and is absolutely terrific.  Elizabeth's vocal performance on this song is quite possibly the best on the album.  It's heartfelt, intimate, and exceptional.

A much slower version of "A Christmas Song", with string and piano accompaniment, turns the 2013 song on its side and becomes a song of yearning and melancholy.  As with "Wouldn't Be a Merry Christmas", "A Christmas Song" showcases Elizabeth's maturing vocals.  She brings a new touch of subtlety and precise phrasing to this version.

"Something About the Holidays" is the first new song on the album, and it is simply full of joy for the season.  We know that Elizabeth is all about Christmas 24x7x365, and her holiday spirit comes bursting through.

"Here's To The New Year", another new song, is bouncy and full of a dance beat, perfect for your New Year's Eve party mix.  Perfect?  How about Absolutely Perfect?  Der Bingle, being 50 now, doesn't bust a move too much anymore, but man, this one had my feet tapping to the beat.

"Christmas in the City" is a love song to the greatest city in the world during the greatest season of the year.  New York is my favorite city next to my Kansas City home, and Elizabeth captures the Christmas spirit of this great city during the holiday season perfectly.  Not a lyric seems forced - it's a musical outpouring about the home she loves.  The Rockefeller Center tree gets it's moment of musical stardom, as does the "red and green on the Empire State", and, my favorite lyrical reference, the Snowflake on 57th Street.  As Elizabeth says, "There ain't nowhere I'd rather be".  "Christmas in the City" is of my favorite Christmas songs, hands down.  Listening to it, I can almost smell the aroma of roasted chestnuts from the street vendors outside of Radio City Music Hall.

Elizabeth's growing talent as an artist comes through on this record, especially with the re-recordings of some of her best songs.  It's pretty amazing to hear these songs become completely different musical messages from the artist.  I love what Elizabeth has given us with the "Christmas in the City" album.  More so, I love Elizabeth's passionate commitment to be a Christmas Music Artist.  She's one of a kind.

Elizabeth Chan's website
Elizabeth Chan on Facebook
Amazon link to "Christmas in the City"

This review is based on the author's personal copy of "Christmas in the City", purchased through a retail outlet.

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