Spend “This Christmas” with Taeyeon
I cannot lie. For some reason, I haven’t been getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Even
Michael Bublé’s Christmas album has not made an appearance on my playlist yet. However, SNSD’s Taeyeon has arrived, hoping to save this Christmas with her new album This Christmas - Winter is Coming (side note: is Taeyeon a GoT fan?).
This Christmas - Winter is Coming
Taeyeon’s winter album opens with a surprise; “The Magic of Christmas Time” is an English track. She truly makes it her own with her soothing vocals and impressive pronunciation. I had to look up this song to see if it was a popular Christmas carol because it sounds like it should be. This song seems to have been given to Taeyeon by writers Robin Ghosh and Krysta Youngs, and all we can do is thank them. The song is truly magical sounding and so beautiful that it will become one of your favorite Christmas carols.
The title track is called “This Christmas,” and it opens very much like a typical Korean ballad with an emotional orchestra and leading piano. Of course, Taeyeon’s vocals are gorgeous and suited perfectly for such a beautiful ballad. The lyrics speak of a loved one who has disappeared, but whom one hopes will return on Christmas.
The music video is melancholic as Taeyeon sits in the back of a car, watching different scenes of her and her father enjoying Christmas at different periods in life. Once the teenage years hit, all-too-familiar scenes of the angsty daughter ignoring her father and refusing his help will make your heart break. Then finally, Taeyeon reaches her destination, as she returns to visit her father on Christmas. It’s sentimental to see both the father and girl age over time with each and every Christmas; it will make you miss your dad, even if he is just watching TV in the next room.
The third track boosts the mood with a cheery jazz band. “Let It Snow” reminds me of the king of Christmas carols, Michael Bublé; it carries that same infectious happiness equipped by big band instrumentals and falsettos. When it comes to upbeat tracks on This Christmas, this is a big favorite. At least, it is until the following song “Candy Cane” opens with the jingling of sleigh bells. The cheeriness of this Christmas pop song is addicting and will make you want to learn the lyrics so you can sing along.
“Christmas Without You” is a slow R&B Christmas track with smooth falsettos and a calming melody. It’s the typical “I just want you for Christmas” track, but done tastefully.”쉿 (Shhhh)” opens up with cinematic instrumentals that softly sing behind Taeyeon’s vocals. It’s unique from the get-go and slowly moves into a smooth jazz song. The girl’s bright charisma shines in this track with her seductive vocal tone and cute moments, such as the “ouch, ouch, ouch” in that second verse. You must listen to this song more than once; its charm is undeniable. It’s like the Korean version of “Santa Baby,” but let me tell you, it’s much better.
The final track, aside from an instrumental of “This Christmas,” is “겨울나무 (I’m All Ears).” The song verges more on the ballad side, which is a great way to end the album. It’s slow, with uncomplicated instrumentals that truly let Taeyeon’s soothing timbre shine one last time. There’s something mystical about the track and its airy melody; it encompasses the calming yet magical ambience of the Christmas season.
One can’t help but be a bit skeptical before listening to the album. K-Pop artists don’t often release albums solely dedicated to Christmas—unless they are EXO—because it’s a risk. It’s incredibly hard to release new Christmas songs and expect people to love them just as much as the classic carols such as “Jingle Bells.” However, Taeyeon’s album has impressed me and others. It may very well become a Christmas album staple for years to come.
“This Christmas” Title Score: 8.5/10
Music Video Score: 8.5/10
Album Score: 9/10