LACE Replay: Christmas & Chill
On December 18, 2015, Ariana Grande surprise-released her second holiday EP, entitled “Christmas & Chill.” Ariana Grande was no stranger to sharing her love for the holiday season. She previously shared her “Christmas Kisses” EP in 2013 and her single “Santa Tell Me” in 2014. However, this Christmas release was different.
Until “Christmas and Chill”, Grande held a pretty clean and kid-friendly image. This proved especially true in her previous holiday releases. “Christmas Kisses” was a four-track EP consisting of two cookie-cutter originals and lack-luster covers of ‘Santa Baby’ and Wham!’s holiday ditty, ‘Last Christmas’. Even in 2014, ‘Santa Tell Me’ proved to be another safe and formulaic pop tune detailing her trust issues with Santa Claus.
However, “Christmas & Chill” introduced a new sound and image for the rising pop star. On the EP consisting of six all-new original songs, Grande exchanged upbeat EDM anthems for racy trap-inspired R&B. She also explored racier subject matter.
On the second track, ‘Wit It This Christmas’, she coos through heavy holiday metaphors, declaring that she’s “tasty like a candy cane” and promises her “drummer boy” that she’s the “only drum” he’ll play during the holiday season. Grande keeps the promises coming on the following track “December” where vows “Whatever’s on your list, I’ll do it.”
She puts an R&B spin on the carol “12 Days of Christmas” on her song “True Love” singing “Look at all the things my true love gave to me” over the sounds of a toy piano and bells. In true Ariana fashion, she even delivers a beautiful string-driven ballad entitled “Not Just on Christmas”, pledging to love her boo whether he’s “naughty or nice”.
Unlike her previous album, “My Everything”, this EP felt genuine and individual to Ariana despite subtle nods to other artists like Jason Mraz on the closing track, ‘Winter Things’. This is because, after taking a backseat, Ariana returned to the writer’s chair on this EP alongside frequent collaborators Victoria Monet, Travis Sayles, Mr. Franks, and TB Hits. Her sugary wordplay and breezy vocal delivery on this EP gave a new generation a set of modern, soulful holiday classics to return to year after year.
More importantly, it marked a new day for the pop star. Christmas & Chill gave Ariana Grande a more mature and confident image while staying true to her brand of the playful girl-next-door. It proved to critics that there was more to her than ponytails and “Carey-esque” high notes. She was a bonafide pop star that was ready to take over the pop scene. The holiday collection geared her fans up for what would become her critically-acclaimed follow-up, “Dangerous Woman”. The EP gave Grande an edge.
Worth the #REPLAY:
Just listen to the whole album.. it's the holiday!