Wrapped in Red (song)

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"Wrapped in Red"
Song by Kelly Clarkson from the album Wrapped in Red
Recorded 2013
Length 3:36
Label RCA
Producer Greg Kurstin

"Wrapped in Red" is a song by American recording artist Kelly Clarkson. It is the titular song and the opening track from her sixth studio album, Wrapped in Red (2013). Written by Clarkson, Ashley Arrison, Aben Eubanks, and Shane McAnally, the song is produced by Greg Kurstin, who recorded the track using the Wall of Sound production technique developed by Phil Spector. A soul-pop ballad, "Wrapped in Red" is a Christmas song about unrequited love in the holidays, in which the color red is used as metaphorical device to express someone's truthful feelings, apart from being a quintessential holiday color.

Lauded for its homage to production sound and vocal performance, "Wrapped in Red" was met with a positive reception from music critics, who regarded it a candidate to be a future holiday classic along with "Underneath the Tree". Boosted by digital sales and radio support following the album's release, the song charted in two Billboard music charts as an album cut. Clarkson has only performed the song in the NBC television special Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale at The Venetian Las Vegas.

Writing and composition[edit]

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After releasing her first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits – Chapter One, in November 2012, Clarkson was approached by her record label, RCA Records, about recording a Christmas album. During that holiday season, she began to write original material for it to avoid writing during the off-season of summer.[4] Written by Clarkson, Ashley Arrison, Aben Eubanks and Shane McAnally, "Wrapped in Red" is a soul-pop Christmas ballad.[2][5] It is one of the five original songs recorded for the album; the other four being "Underneath the Tree", "Every Christmas", "Winter Dreams (Brandon's Song)" and "4 Carats", all of which are produced by Greg Kurstin.[6] She revealed that its lyrical content was inspired by a scene in the holiday feature film Love Actually (2003), in which one of its characters, Mark (played by Andrew Lincoln) confesses his unrequited love towards Juliet (played by Keira Knightley).[7][8] The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan described it as Clarkson mustering the courage to "risk it all" with someone who may well reject her.[9] The title is derived from being swaddled in the color red, which, apart from being a prominent color associated with Christmas, also expresses an multitude of emotions, such as love, pain, and beauty.[1][3]

During the song's recording, Kurstin utilized Phil Spector's Wall of Sound treatments apart from adding sleigh bells to resonate a holiday Memphis soul sound,[1][10] Several music critics compared its sound to the music popularized by girl groups throughout the 1960s,[2][11][12] and singled the track out as the one that resonates the treatment most throughout the album.[5][12][13][14]

Critical response[edit]

"Wrapped in Red" has received a positive response from music critics, who praised its homage to the famous Wall of Sound technique and Clarkson's vocal performance. They also considered it as a candidate to be a future holiday classic. Jon Sobel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer hailed it as one of the two strongest tracks on the album to have a potential for lasting popularity (the other one being "Underneath the Tree") and described it as the one that showcases the emotional power of Clarkson's singing ability the most.[14] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine described it as "retro" and a welcome addition to shopping-mall playlists.[15] Lisa-Marie Ferla of The Arts Desk described the track as a perfect mix of sleigh bells, love-struck festive clichés and soaring choruses to produce something that could have been written for the Love Actually soundtrack.[10] Crosswalk.com's Christa Banister praised the song's homage to Spector's Wall of Sound as bright and fantastic.[12] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe described it as a sparkly treat, with a nice melancholy undertone familiar to anyone who knows the holiday blues.[13] In his review of the album, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times described the song as the right combination of vintage and fresh and regarded it as the closest Clarkson can come as the only pop artist with a possibility to create a modern holiday classic along the lines of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (1994).[16]

Chart performance[edit]

On the week ending November 16, 2013, "Wrapped in Red" entered the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart as an album cut at number five where it spent two weeks on the chart.[17] On the week ending December 28, 2013, it debuted on the Billboard Canada AC chart at number 22 before ascending to number 10 a week after.[18] It also entered the Gaon Singles Chart in South Korea on the week ending November 23, 2013.[19]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Produced at Echo Recording Studio, Los Angeles, California

Credits lifted from the Wrapped in Red liner notes.[20]


Chart (2013–14) Peak
Canada AC (Billboard)[18] 10
South Korea International Singles (GAON)[19] 43
US Holiday Digital Songs (Billboard)[17] 5


  1. ^ a b c d Fox, Marisa (October 18, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson in the Red Zone With "Wrapped in Red": The Billboard Cover Story". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 125 (41). Retrieved February 7, 2014.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Dosmanos, Jackie (December 22, 2013). "CD reviews: Old, new Christmas carols". ABS-CBN News. ABS-CBN Corporation. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Palmer, Natalie (December 11, 2013). "Album review: Kelly Clarkson — Wrapped in Red". Entertainmentwise. Giant Digital Ltd. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ Lansky, Sam (October 9, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Talks Christmas Album & Baby Rumors, Performs "Tie It Up" On 'The View'". Idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (November 15, 2013). "Two Sides Of Holiday Cheer From Kelly Clarkson, Nick Lowe". NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ Lansky, Sam (August 19, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson Announces Christmas Album, ‘Wrapped In Red,’ So Christmas Is Saved". Idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ Clarkson, Kelly (October 22, 2013). "Wrapped in Red" preview (Videotape). YouTube. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ Baker, Brandon (November 25, 2013). "Album review: Kelly Clarkson 'Wrapped in Red'". Philadelphia. Metrocorp. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (November 28, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red – review". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Ferla, Lisa-Marie (December 7, 2013). "CD: Kelly Clarkson — Wrapped in Red". The Arts Desk Ltd. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ Mansfield, Brian (November 28, 2013). "Big names put a bow on best new Christmas albums". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Banister, Christa (December 9, 2013). "There's Something for Everyone on Clarkson's Wrapped in Red". Crosswalk.com. Salem Communications. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b 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 February 7, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Sobel, Jon (December 4, 2013). "Music Review: Kelly Clarkson – 'Wrapped in Red'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (October 23, 2013). "Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red — Music Review — Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  16. ^ Caramanica, Jon. "2013 Holiday Gift Guide". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Holiday Digital Songs for Kelly Clarkson. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Kelly Clarkson Album & Song Chart History". Billboard Canada AC for Kelly Clarkson. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Gaon Digital Chart 2013년 11월 5주차" (in Korean). GAON. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  20. ^ Wrapped in Red (booklet). Kelly Clarkson. RCA Records. 2013. 88883-77623-2. 

External links[edit]