With the onset of November, you are almost guaranteed to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” at least once a day. The tantalizing tune will surely be sprinkled not only amongst holiday classics, like Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” and Dean Martin’s “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” but also contemporary hits, such as those off of Justin Bieber’s “Under The Mistletoe” and Lady Antebellum’s “On This Winter’s Night”. Just as with rock music, the holiday genre transforms and consistently exposes different stylizations of timeless tracks.
With his holiday EP, “And a Happy New Year”, native New Yorker, Mikey Wax contemporizes the festive genre with both classic and original songs. Following his three prior releases, “Chance Again”, “The Traveler” and “Constant Motion”, the six track EP simply makes holiday music “the cool thing to listen to”. Ridding “Let It Snow” of it’s corny undertone, Wax slows down the tune’s pace and infuses a melody that unearths lyrics that were not as noticeable in the original. With Wax’s spin, “Let It Snow” embraces its romanticized side rather than just being typecast as another holiday jingle.
Wax daringly implodes the EP with three original songs, “And A Happy New Year”, “Catch The Midnight Flight” and “Perfect Holiday”. With these tracks, the singer, songwriter and musician captures the classic spirit of festive tunes with his soft spoken and ethereal vocals glazed over delicate melodies.
What’s a holiday album without a Beatles song? Wax includes a cover of the fab four’s “Across The Universe”. The Beatles track works in Wax’s EP because he sticks to the rule of simplicity, both vocally and instrumentally. A holiday song doesn’t have to resemble a showtune to communicate the jovial aspects of the winter months. The track must display qualities of warmth, tenderness and beauty, not abide by Mariah Carey’s standards of “the louder, the better”. Wax blissfully steers clear from the latter on “And A Happy New Year”.
Get your copy of “And A Happy New Year” here.