When it comes to Christmas music, there are few contemporary songs better than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which was released just a shade over (gulp) seventeen years ago. The inimitable tune (co-written by B-Side Blog friend Walter Afanasieff) has been covered many times since its release, but this Holiday season, it has been sullied by not one but two very popular recording artists.
In one corner we have Michael Bublé, who trades out the song’s signature spunk for his own typical, jazzy blandness. The word “neutered” comes to mind. I don’t actually mind the arrangement, but Bublé’s voice (some call it velvety, I call it boring) really drains the recording of any life. Of course, I’m sure we’ll hear this version on many a TV drama soundtrack. I already anticipate Grey’s Anatomy chomping at the bit for the rights. I don’t love Bublé’s take on the song, but I can’t begrudge him for changing things up. I reluctantly dole out a smidgen of credit for showing some creativity.
In the other corner, we have Justin Bieber, who’s been copy and pasted into the Mariah Carey original. That’s right: same song, but now with 50% more Bieb. On the plus side, the spirit and arrangement of the track have been preserved. But on the major minus side, this feels like cheap coattail riding. Bieber is just piggybacking on Mariah’s hard work, which might be more offensive than Bublé sapping the song of its soul. Plus, let us not forget that for every second that Bieber is singing, Mariah is not. If Bieber is going to take on this vaunted classic, he should just do his own thing with his own arrangement instead of barging in on Mariah’s territory. This is HER song. She don’t need no help from no Hilary Swankish teen idol.
So, who ruins the song more? Michael Bublé, who is creative but boring, or Justin Bieber, who lets us enjoy the original but is altogether too intrusive? To help inform your thoughts, click through to the embedded songs for reference after the jump.
The floor is open.