Some artists are a natural fit for seasonal fare. Mariah Carey’s love of glitz and glamor screams Christmas, while Gwen Stefani’s campy, tongue-in-cheek schtick also makes her a holiday favorite. You can now add Meghan Trainor to the short list of divas that thrive in December. She stakes her claim as a future festive staple with A Very Trainor Christmas (out now). This feel-good collection of originals and standards effortlessly taps into the fun, sass and wholesomeness of the season.
Album-opener and current single “My Kind Of Present” perfectly sets the tone. This loved-up toe-tapper evokes the retro, doo-wop sound of Meghan’s Title era, which gives the song a comforting, traditional sheen. Meghan moves forward a couple of decades, production-wise, on the Earth Wind & Fire-assisted “Holidays” and then stays there for “Christmas Party,” which is a shot of undiluted holiday joy with its warm brass and jaunty lyrics.
Prefer holiday fare with an edge? Don’t worry, Meghan has that too. “I Believe In Santa” evokes the R&B-pop production of “No” and “Me Too,” and contains some of my favorite (original) lyrics of the season. “I look good in ugly sweaters, no one can rock ‘em better,” Meghan coos. “I gain fifteen pounds a season, blame Santa — he’s the reason!” Another contemporary-sounding cut is “Naughty List,” which is festive and feisty. “I’ve been on my best behavior for life, why you gotta judge me just for one night?” she purrs, before demanding forgiveness.
While the original songs are where A Very Trainor Christmas really sparkles, there are a handful of winning covers. Wham!’s “Last Christmas” has been interpreted ad infinitum, but Meghan’s version stands out due to the reverence with which it treats the original. Another unexpected delight is the pop star’s cover of Britney Spear’s “My Only Wish.” This is something of a cult classic and Meghan breathes new life into the bop. As for the standards, the hitmaker’s gently-strummed take on “Winter Wonderland” is an easy highlight.
When it comes to holiday fare, you’re looking for a mood-setter — an album or playlist you can start and then forget about for an hour. By that criteria, A Very Trainor Christmas is a resounding success. Everything about this project sparks joy and the mix of genres — not to mention the inclusion of new and old material — makes sure there’s something for everybody. Don’t be too surprised if this becomes a go-to Christmas soundtrack for families across America in the years to come.