A Sia Christmas in November


This cover image released by Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records shows "Everyday is Christmas," a holiday album by Sia. (Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records via AP)

This cover image released by Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records shows “Everyday is Christmas,” a holiday album by Sia. (Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic Records via AP)

Sia’s “Everyday is Christmas,” released Nov. 17, sticks true to the album title with a release date even before Thanksgiving. For those of us that start blasting the Christmas classics as early as September, it was a great present. A lot of excitement was built up for the release with heavy advertising on Instagram by her team. The album cover features Sia’s go-to dancer Maddie Ziegler with a festive red and green wig in place of her platinum blonde Sia-inspired bob.

Most impressive about this album is that all the songs are original. Normally, celebrity Christmas albums are covers of compiled holiday classics, but not Sia’s. The album was composed of 10 holiday songs written by Sia and her frequent co-songwriter, producer Greg Kurstin. This bold move to write original Christmas songs gave Sia marks for creativity but also opened up a path for much criticism.

The album was simultaneously a hit and a miss. There were five songs that rocked the boat and five songs that kept it afloat. The reception of the album was similar. Metacritic gave the album a 55/100. Despite this average rating, Sia has still managed to gift the world a few songs from this album that will be stuck in our heads this holiday season. That is why she wrote the album in the first place: she felt there was “a shortage of good Christmas music”. In that same Zane Lowe interview, Sia talked about how the album came to be.

“It was easy and fun. So, we did it in two weeks,” Sia said.

The impact of the short writing time was evident in the quality of the album. Certain songs were a complete miss. “Puppies are Forever” is number one on that miss list. There was no real connection to the holiday with the topic of the song and the lyrics were subpar to the rest of Sia’s work. “Puppies are forever, not just for Christmas” is the ongoing message and the chorus of this song. While the message was one to remember and take heed to, the sound seemed mediocre for Sia and would have been better suited in a Christmas pet shop commercial, not a Christmas album.

While Sia tried to keep it fun and jolly with some of the songs, the more successful songs are her slower tunes such as “Snowman,” “Underneath the Christmas Lights” and “Sunshine.” The ballads focused on deeper topics and, therefore, were more lyrically complex. In all the up-tempo and cheery songs on the album the focus was either hot chocolate, warm fires or snow. That is where Sia made a mistake: in assuming that in order to give off a joyful air, the songs had to be superficial.

While those misses were devastating, Sia came through with her ballads. The lyrics were relevant and thoughtful while the music was kept simple with a lack of the singer’s usual vocal acrobatics. In “Sunshine” she references the theme of the album by maintaining that Christmas is everyday. Acknowledging that the holiday season is not a favorite for some she sings, “I’m Santa’s helper, give your fears to me. I’ll take them home baby, and return them as sunshine.”

In “Snowman,” Sia swears her loyalty to a lover who she knows cannot stay. This story isn’t exclusive to the holiday and yet, Sia makes it connect with the metaphor of a snowman melting away when the holiday season is over. That and a melody reminiscent of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” make this song an instant classic.

“Everyday is Christmas” may have been the product of a spur of the moment decision and some lazy songwriting, but it did give us some new Christmas pop classics.

Kanthalina Andreus is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kanthalina.andreus@uconn.edu.

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