Released: October 20
In a career spanning 60 years, Cher has ticked off more milestones than most, but it’s taken six decades for her to fully embrace the holidays and release her first festive album.
In that time the superstar has shown her affinity for the season; in the ‘70s there were a series of Sonny & Cher Christmas specials and back in the late ‘90s, she joined Rosie O’Donnell on a recording of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).
Back in 1963, Cher performed backing vocals on the original with Darlene Love and for her latest body of work, Love returns the favour for a powerhouse duet of the tune that sees the pair in fine voice.
She’s one of a number of collaborators, including Stevie Wonder – who lends vocals and harmonica to a joyous version of What Christmas Means To Me – while Cyndi Lauper finally hops on a recording with the Goddess Of Pop for a riotous rendition of Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart.
Lauper also contributes backing vocals to Angels In The Snow, one of four originals on the record, all typically Cher, and standouts that breathe life into the set. That song, along with the club-friendly opener DJ Play A Christmas Song – a genius opener that sets the scene for an LP where Cher throws out the Christmas album rulebook and places the focus on having a good time – are the most dance-oriented, while the Motown-inspired Christmas Ain’t Christmas Without You and hip-hop leaning Drop Top Sleigh Ride (feat Tyga) add to her musical toy box.
‘There won’t be no silent night / Turn it up it’s a vibe / It’s Christmas’ she sings on the latter, with a suitably tongue-in-cheek contribution from the rapper: ‘Throwin’ money to the chandelier / Yeah, I make it rain, dear’.
There’s the occasional misstep; a reworked Home with Michael Bublé is less a winter warmer and more an ill-judged vehicle to shoehorn him into the set – and clocking in as the longest track on the album between two feelgood originals, something of a vibe-killer – while Santa Baby is a little out of place on an album that largely avoids the obvious holiday staples.
Come closing number, a cover of The Zombies’ This Will Be Our Year, however, those shortcomings are forgiven and the overall effect is one of joy and warmth that has you reaching for a snowball and soaking up the holiday cheer.
Overwhelmingly festive and quintessentially Cher – there’s a new Queen Of Christmas in town!