Brett Young has been incredibly prolific this year. In June he released his new album ‘Weekends Look a Little Different These Days’ and he followed it up with an acoustic companion album. As we move into the autumn and towards the winter months, Young is dropping another album – this time it’s a collaborative Christmas album. Having released his version of the classic ‘Silver Bells’ already, Young has teamed up with a host of his superstar friends to record a set of festive collaborations.
‘Brett Young & Friends Sing The Christmas Classics’ opens with ‘Silver Bells’ and it’s a contemporary take on the classic song. The production features a gentle beat and it leans into the soulful side of Young’s distinctive voice. How modern you like your Christmas songs to sound will determine whether you like the track, and indeed the rest of the record. Young has opted not to do a straightforward collection of covers, instead putting his own stamp across the seven tracks and modernising the production to sound more contemporary.
‘White Christmas’ featuring Colbie Caillat transforms the iconic tear-jerking ballad into a mid-tempo number that sees Young and Caillat’s voices working well together. For me, I prefer a more stripped-back version of this song but it’s at least not the uptempo shocker that Michael Bublé recorded with Shania Twain a few years back. For ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)’, Young teams up with contemporary Christian artist Phil Wickham. Much like ‘White Christmas’, the production falls in the mid-tempo range with contemporary beats underlying it.
Legendary producer Dann Huff appears on ‘The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)’. The traditional Country production actually works for the most part but an intrusive drum beat threatens to pull you out of the song. The same is sadly true for ‘Silent Night’ featuring Chris Tomlin, which is too busy production wise and detracts from the simplicity and beauty of the song. Far better is the relaxed take on ‘Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow’ featuring Young’s tour mates Maddie & Tae.
Darius Rucker appears on “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, which is oddly subdued for a song that normally mixes rock sensibilities with festive charm. The closing track, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Christmas’ featuring Sam Fischer is the best song on the album. It’s the closest the collection gets to a traditional arrangement and it gives both Young and Fischer’s voices a chance to shine. I just wish that more traditional approach had applied across the record.
‘Brett Young & Friends Sing The Christmas Classics’ certainly does what it says on the tin but the modern production isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. Arriving at the same time as Brett Eldredge’s ‘Mr Christmas’, an album that embraces the big band tradition of classic Christmas songs, Young’s collection doesn’t quite hit the same marks. I applaud him for trying to do something different but for me, I like my Christmas music to sound classic.
Track listing: 1. Silver Bells 2. White Christmas (feat. Colbie Caillat) 3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (feat. Phil Wickham) 4. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (feat. Dan Huff) 5. Silent Night (feat. Chris Tomlin) 6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (feat. Maddie & Tae) 7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (feat. Darius Rucker) Record label: Big Machine Records Release date: 22nd October 2021 Buy ‘Brett Young & Friends Sing The Christmas Classics’ now