Underneath the Tree

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Underneath the Tree"
A blonde woman whose head is wrapped in a red scarf and covered with snow, on the lower right, the wordmarks "Kelly Clarkson" and "Underneath the Tree" are printed in stylized "Feel Script" and "Bree" typefaces.
Single by Kelly Clarkson
from the album Wrapped in Red
Released November 5, 2013 (2013-11-05)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2013
Genre
Length 3:49
Label RCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Greg Kurstin
Kelly Clarkson singles chronology
  • "Underneath the Tree"
  • (2013)

"Underneath the Tree" is a song by American recording artist Kelly Clarkson, from her sixth studio album Wrapped in Red (2013). Written by Clarkson along with Greg Kurstin, who handled its production, it is a Christmas-themed song that sings of gratitude for companionship during the holidays, in which the beloved is being referred as the only present needed "underneath the tree". Accompanied by various instrumental sounds, the song prominently incorporates a Wall of Sound treatment along with sleigh bells and bell chimes to resonate a holiday atmosphere. "Underneath the Tree" was first released to Adult Contemporary radio stations on November 5, 2013 by RCA Records as the lead single from the album.

"Underneath the Tree" has been praised by music critics, who considered it as the main highlight of Wrapped in Red and lauded its potential to be a holiday classic. They also complimentary compared it to the 1994 modern Christmas standard "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey. Three weeks after its release, the song topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and attained a top ten position on the Billboard Holiday 100 chart. It also attained a chart position on the national Billboard Hot 100 chart and became top forty hit in Canada, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Filmed by English director Hamish Hamilton, the accompanying music video for the song features a live performance from the television special Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale at The Venetian Las Vegas. Apart from the television special, Clarkson has also performed it in various televised performances, such as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the American singing competition The Voice.

Production and composition[edit]

A symbol for a Christmas present, Clarkson's lover is being referred to the only thing she needs "underneath the tree".[2]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

After recording tracks for her greatest hits compilation, Greatest Hits – Chapter One, Clarkson began discussing with her record label RCA Records about plans for her sixth studio album being a Christmas release in late 2012, during which she also began to write original Christmas material.[3] Greg Kurstin, whom she had previously collaborated with, was approached by Clarkson to produce the album; and together, they co-wrote the tracks "Underneath the Tree" and "4 Carats".[4] "Underneath the Tree" was produced by Kurstin, who also played most of the instruments, including a mellotron and a Chamberlin, to evoke a Phil Spector's Wall of Sound treatment—a sound that Billboard and HitFix noticed upon hearing the song.[3][5] He also had Clarkson provide all the voices in it, including all its backing vocals. She recalled the experience as new, stating, "I've never had to do anything like this before—doing all my backup vocals, essentially being my own choir."[3]

"Underneath the Tree" is an uptempo big band-style Christmas[6] and pop[1] song written by Clarkson and Kurstin.[1] It is one of the five original songs recorded for Wrapped in Red. According to the sheet notes at Musicnotes published by EMI Music Publishing, the song was written in the key of E major, in which the vocal range spans from E4 to G5.[1] Apart from the Wall of Sound, various other sounds, such as sleigh bells and bell chimes, are also prominently heard on the song, which features a saxophone solo on the bridge.[7] Lyrically, it sings about companionship, primarily of someone wanting to be with her beloved on the Christmas season.[2] The first verse laments about loneliness on Christmas which gradually changes with the arrival of her beloved, with the chorus centering about singer being grateful for being with him, whom she also describes as the only thing she needs "underneath the tree", which acts as a symbolism for a Christmas present.[2]

Release and reception[edit]

On October 18, 2013, Clarkson premiered "Underneath the Tree" on her Vevo channel.[8] On November 5, 2013, RCA Records released it as a single on Adult Contemporary radio stations in the United States,[9] while also planning to release it on Mainstream Pop stations.[3] It was then released as a digital download in the United Kingdom on November 22, 2013 and in the United States on December 9, 2013.[10] A digital EP containing remixes of the song was released internationally on December 17, 2013.[11]

Critical response[edit]

Critics approvingly compared "Undeneath the Tree" to the 1994 Christmas standard "All I Want for Christmas Is You", originally sung by Mariah Carey (pictured).

"Underneath the Tree" has received critical acclaim from various music critics on its release, who lauded it as main highlight of Wrapped in Red and a prospective Christmas standard. Billboard's Marisa Fox called it as the album's "biggest surprise",[3] and described it as an optimistic tune that has Clarkson powering through Darlene Love-style vocals.[3] While Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times's described it as a remarkably cheery single.[12] In her review, Christina Vinson of Taste of Country remarked that the track "has everything a Christmas song could want: a jazzy, big band sound, saxophone and bells ringing, all bottled up in an optimistic and catchy holiday track" and said that Clarkson "shines", as her "strong vocals are needed to offset the snazzy production and chorus."[6] In his review, Idolator's Carl Williott wrote that the song "sounds instantly familiar—sleigh bells, laments about a lonely Christmas day, a sax solo—but with a tightly coiled hook and Clarkson’s transcendent voice, the whole thing is kind of invigorating."[7] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe called it as bouncy, cooing number tailor-made to soundtrack sleigh rides, and named it as the best track on the album.[13]

Critics also approvingly compared it to Mariah Carey's modern Christmas classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (1994), a track that RCA chief executive Peter Edge described as the song's inspiration.[14] Williot added that "Underneath the Tree" is strong enough that it could enter the pantheon of modern Christmas staples like Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and 'N Sync's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays".[7] Amy Sciarretto of PopCrush wrote, "It’s an upbeat, jingle-and-sleigh-bell-fueled jam, complete with some saxophone. It reminds us a bit of Carey's modern classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You", with a dose of girl group harmonizing."[2] MTV's Jenna Hally Rubenstein remarked, "if we may be so bold, it is definitely on par with other impeccable Christmas originals—namely Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You"."[15] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine noted the similar themes of two songs, and that "Underneath the Tree" is likely to become Clarkson's very own contemporary standard.[16] Melinda Newman of HitFix wrote, "It's a finger-popping, bell-ringing pleaser that could achieve that rare feat of becoming a new Christmas standard. That hasn't happened since Carey's "All I Want For Christmas" in 1994;"[5] while The Independent's Hugh Montgomery applauded it as having a sass, jingle and a sax solo, saying that it is "a winner on all fronts."[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Upon the release of Wrapped in Red, "Underneath the Tree" entered the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart as an album cut at number four on the week ending November 16, 2013.[18] Following its release as a single, it reached a peak position of number three on the week ending December 28, 2013.[19] After being released as a single to Adult Contemporary radio, the song debuted at number 21 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart for the week ending November 23, 2013,[20] eventually topping the chart after three weeks, becoming her third Adult Contemporary number one song and her first since "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (2012).[21] That same week, it also entered the Billboard Holiday 100 chart at number 34, making it her second entry at the Holiday Songs after "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (2011).[22] The song entered the chart's top ten after two weeks at number 10.[19] On the week ending December 21, 2013, the song entered the main Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 92,[23] and peaked at number 78 on the week ending January 4, 2013.[24] Brian Mansfield of USA Today reported that "Underneath the Tree" was radio's most-played new holiday song of 2013.[25]

Internationally, "Underneath the Tree" became a top forty hit in four countries. After debuting at number 41 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart on the week ending December 21, 2013,[26] the song reached a peak of number 28 after a week.[27] In the United Kingdom, it debuted on the Official UK Singles Chart at number 79 on the week ending December 14, 2013,[28] eventually reaching at number 30 on the week ending December 28, 2013.[29] In the Netherlands, "Underneath the Tree" debuted on the Mega Top 50 chart at number 38 on the week ending December 14, 2013,[30] and peaked at number 34 on the week ending December 28, 2013.[31] That same week, it entered the Mega Single Top 100 at number 85,[32] and peaked at number 69.[33] It "Underneath the Tree" entered the Dutch Top 40 chart at number 26, making it her first top forty hit in that region after four years since "I Do Not Hook Up" peaked at number 19 in 2009.[34] It then peaked at number 25 after a week.[34] In South Korea, the song debuted at number 2 on the Gaon Singles Chart on the week ending November 9, 2013.[35] In Japan, it debuted on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart at number 84 on the week ending January 4, 2014,[36] and spend two weeks on the chart.[37]

Music video[edit]

On the eve of Wrapped in Red's release, RCA Records released an animated lyric video for "Underneath the Tree", featuring shots of ice skating, a snow-covered town, and copious Christmas trees.[38] The lyric video was released to positive reviews, with Idolator's Sam Lansky describing it as "a nice visual accompaniment to the song that just lends an extra high-octane Yuletide cheer to its already-effervescent spirit".[38][39] Its accompanying music video premiered on December 3, 2013 on Vevo,[40] featuring a live performance from the stage of her NBC television special Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale, which was directed by Hamish Hamilton, known for his concert films.[41]

Live performances and usage in media[edit]

Clarkson has performed "Underneath the Tree" in various televised performances. She first performed "Underneath the Tree" in a live televised performance on The Today Show on November 26, 2013.[42] Apart from being performed from the set of Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale featured in the song's accompanying music video, a different live performance was aired during the television special itself, in which Clarkson was accompanied by children while singing it.[43] She also performed the song on the fifth season of the American singing competition of The Voice on December 3, 2013.[44][45] On December 5, 2013, she then performed it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[46][47] Clarkson has also appeared in an Amazon.com advertisement performing "Underneath the Tree" while promoting both Wrapped in Red, Amazon.com, and Kindle Fire HDX.[48]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download – Single[10]
No. Title Length
1. "Underneath the Tree"   3:49
Digital download – Remixes EP[11]
No. Title Length
1. "Underneath the Tree" (Cutmore Christmas Sleigh Ride Radio Mix) 3:56
2. "Underneath the Tree" (Morlando Radio Mix) 3:47
3. "Underneath the Tree" (Cutmore Christmas Sleigh Ride Extended Mix) 6:24
4. "Underneath the Tree" (Morlando Remix) 5:41

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
  • Produced at Echo Recording Studio, Los Angeles, California
Personnel

Credits lifted from the Wrapped in Red liner notes.[4]

Charts[edit]

Radio and release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, release format, and label
Region Date Format Label
United States November 5, 2013 (2013-11-05) Adult Contemporary radio[9] RCA Records
United Kingdom November 22, 2013 (2013-11-22) Digital download – Single[10][62]
United States December 9, 2013 (2013-12-09)
Australia December 17, 2013 (2013-12-17) Digital download – Remixes EP[11] Sony Music Entertainment
Austria
Germany
United Kingdom RCA Records
United States

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Clarkson, Kelly; Kurstin, Greg (2013). "Kelly Clarkson - Underneath the Tree Sheet Music (Digital Download)" (sheet music). Musicnotes.com. EMI April Music. Retrieved October 29, 2013.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Sciarretto, Amy (October 18, 2013). "Listen to Kelly Clarkson 'Underneath the Tree' Christmas Single". PopCrush. Townsquare Media. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Fox, Marisa. "Clarkson in the Red zone". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 125 (41). Retrieved October 29, 2013.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b Wrapped in Red (booklet). Kelly Clarkson. RCA Records. 2013. 88883-77623-2. 
  5. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (October 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson sparkles on 'Wrapped In Red' holiday album". HitFix. HitFix, Inc. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Vinson, Christina (October 18, 2013). "Hear Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Underneath the Tree’". Taste of Country. Townsquare Media. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Williott, Carl (October 18, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Premieres New Christmas Classic "Underneath The Tree": Listen". Idolator. Spin Media. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Kelly Clarkson premieres Christmas song 'Underneath the Tree'". Digital Spy (United Kingdom: Hearst Corporation). October 18, 2013. Archived from the original on December 29, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "R&R: Going For Adds: Adult Contemporary". Radio & Records. Radio & Records, Inc. October 28, 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c "Underneath the Tree" was released as a digital download in these countries:
  11. ^ a b c "Underneath the Tree" (Remixes) was released as a digital EP in these countries:
  12. ^ Wood, Mikael (October 18, 2013). "Listen to Kelly Clarkson's new Christmas song 'Underneath the Tree'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Archived from the original on December 9, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  13. ^ Rodman, Sarah (October 28, 2013). "Album Review: Kelly Clarkson's 'Wrapped in Red' - Music". The Boston Globe. Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC. Archived from the original on October 28, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  14. ^ Hampp, Andrew (October 22, 2013). "Q4 Label Special: RCA's Tom Corson and Peter Edge on Miley, Britney & JT, the Adult Xmas Market, 'Focusing on Hip-Hop & Rock' (From the Magazine)". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 125 (41). Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  15. ^ Rubenstein, Jenna Hally (October 18, 2013). "Listen To Kelly Clarkson's Insta-Christmas Classic: 'Underneath The Tree'". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (October 23, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red—Music Review—Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  17. ^ Montgomery, Hugh (November 24, 2013). "Oh come, all ye songsters: This year's Christmas hits ranked and reviewed". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Holiday Digital Songs for Kelly Clarkson. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (December 22, 2013). "'American Idol' on the Charts: Colton Dixon Joins the Christmas Hit Parade". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  20. ^ Trust, Gary (November 18, 2013). "Chart Highlights: Johnny Mathis Scores 50th Adult Contemporary Hit". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  21. ^ Trust, Gary (December 2, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson's 'Tree' Tops AC". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Holiday 100 for Kelly Clarkson. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ Grein, Paul (December 11, 2013). "Chart Watch: "The Monster" Lives Up To Its Title". Yahoo! Music (Yahoo! Inc.). Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  24. ^ Grein, Paul (December 27, 2013). "Chart Watch: RiRi Ties MJ". Yahoo! Music (Yahoo! Inc.). Archived from the original on December 29, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2014. 
  25. ^ Mansfield, Brian (December 23, 2013). "Playlist: Kelly Clarkson, plus 10 more holiday tracks". USA Today (Gannett Company). Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Billboard Canadian Hot 100: December 21, 2013". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 24, 2013.  (subscription required)
  27. ^ "Billboard Canadian Hot 100: December 28, 2013". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 24, 2013.  (subscription required)
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart UK Top 100 - 14th December 2013". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart UK Top 40 - 28th December 2013". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "dutchcharts.nl - 3fm Mega Top 50 - 14/12/2013". Mega Top 50. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  31. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - 3fm Mega Top 50 - 28/12/2013". Mega Top 50. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  32. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Single Top 100 - 21/12/2013". MegaCharts. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  33. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Single Top 100 - 28/12/2013". MegaCharts. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "Top 40: Kelly Clarkson - Underneath The Tree". Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  35. ^ a b "Gaon Album Chart 2013년 11월 5주차" (in Korean). GAON. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Billboard Japan Hot 100: January 4, 2014". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 22, 2014.  (subscription required)
  37. ^ "Billboard Japan Hot 100: January 11, 2014". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 22, 2014.  (subscription required)
  38. ^ a b "'Underneath The Tree' Lyric Video Has Kelly Clarkson Getting Festive". The Huffington Post (AOL). October 28, 2013. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  39. ^ Lansky, Sam (October 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson’s "Underneath The Tree" Gets A Cute Lyric Video: Watch". Idolator. Spin Media. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2013. 
  40. ^ Lansky, Sam (December 3, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Gets Festive In "Underneath The Tree" Video: Watch". Idolator. Spin Media. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  42. ^ Dawn, Randee (November 25, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson still singing despite 'all day and all night' morning sickness". Today (NBCUniversal). Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  43. ^ Ihnat, Gwen (December 12, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson should have just stuck to the music for her holiday special". The A.V. Club. The Onion, Inc. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  44. ^ Bibel, Sara (November 27, 2013). "Blake Shelton, Xenia & Kelly Clarkson to Perform on the December 3 Episode of 'The Voice'". TV by the Numbers (Zap2it). Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  45. ^ Nededog, Jethro (November 27, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson to Perform New Holiday Single on ‘The Voice’". The Wrap (The Wrap News Inc.). Archived from the original on January 21, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  46. ^ Sager, Jessica (December 7, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Performs 'Underneath the Tree' on 'Ellen'". PopCrush. Townsquare Media. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  47. ^ Williott, Carl (December 13, 2013). "Watch Kelly Clarkson Perform "Underneath The Tree" On 'Fallon'". Idolator. Spin Media. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  48. ^ Sciarretto, Amy (December 16, 2013). "Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 2013 Commercial – What's the Song?". PopCrush. Townsquare Media. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Kelly Clarkson – Underneath the Tree – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
  50. ^ "Ultratop.be – Kelly Clarkson – Underneath the Tree" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  51. ^ "Ultratop 30 Airplay – 12/28/2013" (in Dutch). Ultratop. December 28, 2013. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  52. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Kelly Clarkson. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  53. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canada AC for Kelly Clarkson. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  54. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canada Hot AC for Kelly Clarkson. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  55. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History" Japan Hot 100 for Kelly Clarkson. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  56. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 52, 2013" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  57. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kelly Clarkson – Underneath the Tree" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  58. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Kelly Clarkson. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  59. ^ "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Kelly Clarkson. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  60. ^ "Jaarlisten: Jaargang 49, 2013" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. 
  61. ^ "Gaon Download Chart: 2013" (in Korean). GAON. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  62. ^ "Underneath The Tree Is Out Now!". KellyClarkson.com (United Kingdom: Sony Music Entertainment). November 25, 2013. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]