|Single by Mariah Carey|
|from the album Merry Christmas II You|
|Released||October 1, 2010|
|Label||Island Def Jam|
|Mariah Carey singles chronology|
"Oh Santa!" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey from her second Christmas album/thirteenth studio album, Merry Christmas II You (2010). Carey wrote and produced the song in collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox. It was released as the lead single from the album. It is an up-tempo R&B song about Carey making a plea for Santa Claus to bring back her partner in time for the Christmas holidays. Instrumentation of sleigh bells, jingle bells and hand claps. It received a positive response from music critics, with many praising its composition and style.
The track set a record on the United States Billboard Adult Contemporary songs chart, debuting at number twelve and peaking at number one the following week for four weeks. It became the first song to reach the summit in two weeks. It further became Carey's seventh number-one song on the chart. Carey filmed a 1960s style music video to accompany the songs release as a single, and performed it on various programs in the lead up to Christmas, including her own TV special called Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to You.
It was later adapted to be the finale of A Christmas Melody, a 2015 Hallmark Channel Christmas movie, with its lyrics tweaked to be relevant for Broadway child performer Fina Strazza's character singing about her single mom finding love.
Background and composition
A 21 second sample of the song's chorus, featuring jingles and handclaps.
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"Oh Santa!" was written and produced by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox for Carey's second Christmas/thirteenth studio album, Merry Christmas II You (2010); Rye Songs administered by Songs of Universal (BMI)/Shaniah Cymone Music|EMI April Music Inc. (ASCAP)/WBM Music Corp Inc./Pamela & Lorrence's Publishing LLC (SESAC). Her vocals were recorded by Brian Garten, Marcus Johnson and Thomas Kanarek, Martin Cooke, Nicholas Essif and Peter Mack, and the music by John Horesco at Guardian Angel Studios, Westlake Recording Studios, Henson Studios and Capitol Recording Studios. It was mixed by Phil Tan and Damien Lewis at The Ninja Beat Club. Dupri played the drums and Randy Jackson performed bass. Cox plated the keyboard and percussion. The background vocals were sung by Angie Fisher, Melonie Daniels, Maryann Tatum, Sharlotte Gibson and Toni Scruggs.
"Oh Santa!" was one of four original compositions by Carey to be included on the album. It premiered on October 1, 2010, in the United States. An EP consisting of six remixes by Jump Smokers and Low Sunday were released on December 7, while a mix of "Oh Santa! and one of Carey's previous Christmas songs "All I Want for Christmas Is You", titled "Oh Santa! All I Want for Christmas Is You (Holiday Mashup)", was released on December 17. "Oh Santa!" is an up-tempo and festive R&B song, which lasts for a duration of three minutes, thirty-one seconds. It has a 1960s girl-group swing feel. The song, in the key of C♯ major, has a tempo of 80 beats per minute. Carey's voice spans more than three octaves, from B♭2 to the high note of F♯6. Instrumentation consists of sleigh bells, jingle bells, hand claps and a piano melody, backed by a "school-yard chant beat". Lyrically, Carey makes a plea to Santa Claus asking him to bring back her "baby" in time for Christmas, singing "Santa's gon' come and make him mine this Christmas."
Mike Diver of the BBC wrote that "Oh Santa!" is a "boisterous" song which "makes perfect sense" as a lead single. He continued to write that although it fell substandard to "All I Want for Christmas Is You", it would still "warrant revisiting 12 months down the line". Rolling Stone writer Caryn Ganz commented on the composition, writing "Mariah bops to a schoolyard-chant beat". Joey Guerra of the Houston Chronicle described the song as "irresistible" and predicted that it would "dominate ringtones" in the run up to Christmas. A reviewer for Idolator described the track as a Christmas version of a song by Avril Lavigne song, "Presumably, not every track will sound like a North Pole version of Avril Lavigne’s 'Girlfriend' as the boppy 'Oh Santa!' does". Rich Juzwiak of The Village Voice was critical of the song, writing "Of the four Mariah-penned new tracks, the Jermaine Dupri/Bryan-Michael Cox collaboration 'Oh Santa!' tries the hardest, an antique kitchen-sink replica that manages to invoke a cheerleading squad, the Pointer Sisters, Mariah's own 'Loverboy', and Hey Ya!'. Full of mumbling and cattiness, it's difficult to sing along to, so its prospects of becoming a perennial favorite are dim."
In the United States, "Oh Santa!" became a record-breaking entry on the Billboard Adult Contemporary songs chart. It debuted at number twelve for the issue dated December 11, 2010. The track soared to number one the following week, marking the quickest ascent to the peak position since Nielsen BDS began tracking airplay in 1993, in just two weeks. Previously, eight songs had reached number one within three weeks, four of which were Christmas entries due to adult contemporary radio stations playing an increased amount in the holiday season. "Oh Santa!" became Carey's seventh number-one hit on the chart, and her first in fifteen years since "One Sweet Day" (1995–96), a duet with Boyz II Men. The singer also topped the chart with her debut single "Vision of Love" (her first) and "Love Takes Time" in 1990, "I Don't Wanna Cry" in 1991, and "Can't Let Go" and "I'll Be There" in 1992. "Oh Santa!" remained atop the chart for four consecutive weeks altogether. It finished at number 42 on the 2011 Adult Contemporary year-end chart. For the week ending October 30, 2010, Carey occupied the top two positions on the Holiday Digital Songs chart: "Oh Santa!" debuted at number one while "All I Want For Christmas Is You" charted at number two. On January 1, 2011, the track debuted at number one-hundred on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number forty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs chart.
Elsewhere, the track debuted at number thirty-six on the South Korean Gaon International Digital Singles Chart for the week ending November 20, 2010. It later peaked at number thirty-two for the week ending December 25, 2010. On the International Download Singles Chart, the track peaked at number thirty. "On Santa!" peaked at number sixty-eight on the Japan Hot 100. The song peaked at number seventy-three on January 1, 2011, for two consecutive weeks on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.
The music video for "Oh Santa!" was directed by Ethan Lader and was shot in Los Angeles on October 6, 2010. Reports surfaced online that Carey's husband Nick Cannon would be directing the video, however Cannon dispelled the rumors on Twitter, saying "I am NOT directing." The video for "Oh Santa!" premiered on entertainment news program Access Hollywood on November 2, 2010. Prior to its release, various media outlets speculated that the video was going incorporate the same on-set style as seen in Outkast's music video for their 2003 single "Hey Ya!", with the singer as the main feature in front of a large audience. Carey's fan site MariahDaily posted a message on their website asking people within the Los Angeles area to appear for a casting call for a chance to be featured in the video.
The video draws influence from 1950s and 1960s variety shows, and features Carey wearing a short, red "sexy Santa" ensemble, whilst on stage with a band, which featured gospel back-in singers as well as a group of dancers, consisting of cheerleaders. The plotline is centered on Carey hosting a "Mariah Carey Christmas" television show. The announcer introduces Carey saying "here she is, the greatest singer of all time, Ms. Mariah Carey!". The video then shows Carey's backup singers belting out the chorus while the singer is seen performing in front of a cheering audience. Her collection of fragrances is also advertised in the opening. In the second half of the video, Santa Claus makes an appearance, waving to friends and sharing a hug with Carey. The video ends with the singer laughing while the audience cheers and claps for her performance.
Becky Bain of Idolator commented on the simple structure and themes of the video, writing "There’s not much to this simple vid, but it does feature Carey doing her usual hand waving theatrics while hitting some absolutely killer high notes." Bain also observed that the vast majority of the shots of Carey are either long shots, showing the singer from a distance, or close up shots, showing Carey from the shoulders and above, so that the viewer was not able to easily recognise that she was pregnant. Nicole James of MTV Buzzworthy also praised the content of the video, writing "Of course it wouldn't be a Mariah Carey video without some glitz and glam so the stage and backdrop are covered in (what else?) glitter. Mariah puts on a great show and sings her heart out with that famous eight-octave range ... scrooges need not apply, 'Oh Santa!' is fun and festive and has you longing for a sip of eggnog."
Track listings and formats
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2010 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2011 (U.S.)
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart
- Carey, Mariah (2010). Merry Christmas II You (Liner Notes) (Compact Disc). Mariah Carey. New York City, New York: Def Jam.
- "New Music: Mariah Carey – 'Oh Santa!'". Rap-Up. October 1, 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
- "Mariah Carey, 'Oh Santa!' - Song Premiere". PopEater. October 1, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Oh Santa! (The Remixes)". iTunes Store. December 7, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- "Oh Santa! All I Want for Christmas Is You (Holiday Mashup) - Single by Mariah Carey". iTunes Store. December 17, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Diver, Mike. "Mariah Carey Merry Christmas II You Review". BBC. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
- "Merry Christmas II You by Mariah Carey". iTunes Store. November 2, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Guerra, Joey (November 2, 2010). "Mariah Carey makes spirits bright with new CD". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "dig Sheet Music, Mariah Carey 'Oh Santa!'". Musicnotes. Peer International Music Publishing. 2010. MN0088978. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Ganz, Caryn (November 3, 2010). "Merry Christmas II You". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Mariah Carey Unwraps 'Merry Christmas II You' Tracklisting". Idolator. October 9, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Juzwiak, Rich (November 10, 2010). "On Mariah Carey's agreeably bizarre yuletide sequel Merry Christmas II You". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary. The week of December 11, 2010". Billboard. December 11, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Trust, Gary (December 6, 2010). "Mariah Carey's 'Oh Santa!' Tops Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary. The week of December 18, 2010". Billboard. December 18, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary. The week of December 25, 2010". Billboard. December 25, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary. The week of January 1, 2011". Billboard. January 1, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary. The week of January 8, 2011". Billboard. January 8, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Adult Contemporary Songs. Year End 2011". Billboard. 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- Trust, Gary (October 21, 2010). "Weekly Chart Notes: Far*East Movement, Lil Wayne, Suzanne Vega". Billboard. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Mariah Carey Hot 100 Chart History". Billboard. January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Mariah Carey Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs Chart History". Billboard. January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "South Korea Gaon International Digital Chart (Week: 2010.11.14 to 2010.11.20)". Gaon Chart. November 20, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "South Korea Gaon International Digital Chart (Week: 2010.12.19 to 2010.12.25)". Gaon Chart. December 25, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "South Korea Gaon International Download Chart (Week: 2010.11.114 to 2010.11.20)". Gaon Chart. December 25, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Mariah Carey Japan Hot 100 Chart History". Billboard. December 4, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Mariah Carey Canadian Hot 100 Chart History". Billboard. January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- "Video - Mariah Carey: 'Oh Santa!'". Rap-Up. November 2, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- "Mariah Carey readies retro 'Oh Santa!' video". Rap-Up. October 5, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- Bain, Becky (November 2, 2010). "Mariah Carey Exclaims 'Oh Santa!' In Her Jolly New Video". Idolator. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- James, Nicole (November 3, 2011). "New Video: Mariah Carey, 'Oh Santa!'". MTV. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
- Billboard Japan Hot 100 | Charts | Billboard JAPAN