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In Praise Of … A Very Mariah Christmas. By Shona Craven

Bing Crosby may well be turning in his grave, but no child of the 1980s will be surprised to see Mariah Carey’s sublime All I Want For Christmas Is You bounding up the charts after being named the nation’s top festive song.

Certainly, Mariah herself recognises that no December dancefloor is complete without merry revellers pointing at each other and wailing: “Yooo-oooo-oooh!” Accordingly, she’s released a new CD, modestly billed as The Ultimate Christmas Album, that features a new version of the jingle-bell-tastic classic.

It’s debatable whether any traditional carol is improved by the incorporation of a whistle-register descant part, but there’s no denying AIWFCIY is in a league of its own. Why is this?

On the one hand, Mariah and Christmas go together like turkey and cranberries. This is the season of extravagance and excess, so who better to celebrate it than a woman who, by all accounts, would take one look at the stuff her true love sent to her over a week and a half and still demand a dressing room full of puppies and three thousands white lilies?

On the other hand, AIWFCIY isn’t about any of that. The Mariah of that song isn’t bothered about champagne and diamonds – indeed, she was content to run around in a snowsuit hugging reindeer for the video. Perhaps what makes the song such a huge hit is the fact that it’s for absolutely everyone. Tradition is all very well, but not every household has a heteronormative yule with mum, dad and the kids.

The “you” of the chorus could be directed at a long-term partner, a brand new love interest, a best friend or even a pet cat.

It’s a song of optimism and joy that maybe, just maybe, hints at the real meaning of Christmas.

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