If you’ve got the pop songwriting chops of Sia, eventually you’re going to try your hand at a Christmas album. Everyday is Christmas (grammar is hers, not mine) is Sia’s eighth album, and unlike many other attempted entries into the Christmas musical canon, every song is original. The 10 songs, each about three-and-a-half minutes long, were each co-written and co-produced with frequent collaborator Greg Kurstin and recorded over two weeks during sessions that Kurstin says left them “laughing at the end of each day.” It’s not hard to imagine why, as every song is delightfully simple in its meaning and execution. It almost seems as though Kurstin and Sia had a checklist of Christmas iconography they had to include: Christmas lights, Santa, elves, snow, candy canes, angels, mistletoe, hot chocolate, cozy fires. It’s all here! The end result is an album that, while often a little too simple, proves that Sia can pull a song out of thin air whenever she feels like it. The resulting album isn’t quite a new Christmas classic, but it is good enough to add to your Christmas party playlist or be included in whatever next year’s “families are crazy and Grandma’s drunk on eggnog” Christmas movies will be.
The album begins well with an illustration of what the rest of the album will pretty much be like. “Santa’s Coming For Us” – despite the sinister-sounding title – begins with name checking some of the coziest signifiers of the wintry season: “Nights are getting shorter now, hot chocolate fills the air and Christmas cheer does too, Pick a merry old Christmas tree, so lovely, the joy this time here brings to you.” Then the song turns into another bouncy Sia pop jam, which instantly worms its way into your head. The song is cute and joyful in the simple way that much of the Christmas season is joyful – why do all these string lights make us happy? There’s no logic, they’re just pretty. This opening track clues us in immediately that this album is going to be much more of a mall Christmas, rather than a church Christmas – so, fun.
Coincidentally, the second track “Candy Cane Lane” harkens back to one of the very best pop Christmas albums, A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector. The opening jingle bells and three-note chime echoes “Winter Wonderland,” and the rest of the production really leans into the sweet dance-ability of those classic Christmas pop tunes. Next, Sia places two snow-centric semi-ballads next to each other. “Snowman” is one of the best, and catchiest, songs on the album. It’s so sweet that you don’t even mind that there appears to be very little metaphor in the song, and it really might just be about a woman singing to an animate Snowman. Well, ‘tis the season. After “Snowman” comes “Snowflake,” about keeping a snowflake cold and safe until Christmas day. Again, it’s not so much about anything, but more intent on creating a feeling that is appropriate for a Christmas song. This is the season that allows the most silliness in its beloved songs, and Sia doesn’t shy away from silliness. It’s a refreshing practice, which helps make the album more enjoyable. A holiday in which an immortal fat old man delivers gifts to every house, for the payment of dessert, is quite a silly holiday after all (and remember: this album is mall Christmas not church Christmas).
“Ho ho ho” is a song that you’ve already been hearing on JCPenney commercials, but which is actually delightful because it is apparently just about getting drunk and partying with Santa and other misfits. “Puppies are Forever” is just so sweet, advocating dogs for Christmas (from “the old dog pound”) as well as reminding people that while dogs are great gifts, they don’t remain gifts. Once gifted, dogs are part of your family! Puppies are forever, “not just for Christmas.”
“Sunshine” is maybe the most nuanced song of the album, where the singer as “Santa’s helper” has got “your back, all my love is gift-wrapped… I’m Santa’s helper, give your fears to me, I’ll take them home, baby, and return them as Sunshine.” It’s a clever way to incorporate the idea of elves (remember the checklist!) without making the song literally about being an elf at Santa’s workshop. Instead of singing about gift-wrapping toys, Sia sings about gift-wrapping love. The final three songs are maybe the most simplistic of the album, with two even having basically the same title (“Underneath the Mistletoe” and “Underneath the Christmast lights”). The songs don’t sound the same, but it speaks to the slightly slapdash way the album was thrown together. That can be fun sometimes, but in some cases the quickness of creation is apparent and is more noticeable than the charms of the song.
The last song “Underneath the Christmas Lights” is actually quite a dour note to end on, after such a jubilant start to the album. However, most of the tracks are really delightful singles for the pop fan who wants to divert their usual listening into Christmas-centric songs for the next month. It’s not the most instantly classic entry into the canon, but is a good enough source for new Christmas playlist and radio tunes, along with the other handful of Christmas albums that are released every year.