You Make It Feel Like Christmas

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You Make It Feel Like Christmas
A red background displaying the upper hand of Stefani holding a piece of mistletoe above her head.
Studio album by Gwen Stefani
ReleasedOctober 6, 2017 (2017-10-06)
Recorded2017
GenreChristmas
Length37:18
LabelInterscope
Producer
Gwen Stefani chronology
This Is What the Truth Feels Like
(2016)
You Make It Feel Like Christmas
(2017)
Singles from You Make It Feel Like Christmas
  1. "You Make It Feel Like Christmas"
    Released: September 22, 2017

You Make It Feel Like Christmas is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani. The album, which is Stefani's first full-length Christmas-themed album, was released on October 6, 2017, by Interscope Records. You Make It Feel Like Christmas consists of twelve tracks, featuring six co-penned original songs and six cover versions of Christmas standards. The album was produced by Eric Valentine and executively produced by Stefani and busbee. Information regarding supposed song titles were leaked in August 2017, leading the public to believe she was recording a holiday album. She confirmed the news the following month and announced the project's release date.

The album's title track and lead single is a duet with Blake Shelton. Commercially, the album peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200 and topped the Top Holiday Albums chart in the United States. It also reached the lower positions in Canada, the Czech Republic, Scotland, and the United Kingdom. All of the songs on the record entered Billboard's Holiday Digital Songs and Holiday Digital Song Sales component charts. To promote the album, Stefani performed on various television programs, such as Today, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She also filmed an accompanying television special, Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas, which premiered on NBC on December 12, 2017.

Background[edit]

Following the release of Stefani's third solo album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like,[1] she announced in July 2017 that she had plans to release new music by the end of the year.[2] During the summer months of 2017, Stefani vacationed at Blake Shelton's Oklahoma farm estate where she spent time doing exercise, meditation, and praying. Inspired by the exotic animals surrounding her while on a spiritual walk outside Shelton's property, she remarked, "If I wrote a Christmas song, what would it be?" After questioning herself, she began singing random lyrics out loud on the spot which she would later use in "Christmas Eve", one of the album's twelve songs. She cited this nature walk as the main source of inspiration for deciding to record a Christmas album and eventually texting her manager about inquiries for studio sessions, which would take place just one week later.[3]

The titles of several tracks first leaked on August 2, 2017 when they appeared as published works on BMI and GEMA, American and German music databases, respectively.[4][5] Because of the registered song titles, several music critics suggested that Stefani may be recording her first holiday album.[6] On September 18, 2017, the singer took to her social media accounts and claimed that she "had something big planned for the holidays" and would release more information later that week. Following the announcement, she revealed that the album's title was You Make It Feel Like Christmas and its track listing. Describing the project, she referred to it as a split collection of classic Christmas songs and newly recorded tracks.[7]

Composition and songs[edit]

Color picture of singer Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton performing the aforementioned song live.
Stefani and Shelton performing live in 2016.

The album's tracks were produced by busbee and Valentine.[8] Rachel McRady from Entertainment Tonight claimed that Stefani's holiday album contains "old classics and new romantic odes, packed with plenty of Blake Shelton references" alluding to her romantic life. Jon Pareles from The New York Times noted that the singer gives a "luxury retro treatment" to the album's twelve songs with the addition of "horns, strings, backup singers".[9]

According to McRady, the album's third track, "My Gift Is You", is the most candid song on You Make It Feel Like Christmas.[10] Lyrically, Stefani sings about "disregard[ing] material possessions [in favor of] Christmas" while "flaunt[ing] her newfound love with [Shelton]".[11]

"You Make It Feel Like Christmas", the album's title track, features guest vocals and a songwriting credit from Shelton.[12] Musically, it is a blend of "Stefani's pop style" and "Shelton's country roots", although it focuses on the former quality.[13] On "Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes Before You", Stefani sings about the most romantic moments regarding her relationship with Shelton.[14]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was released on October 6, 2017 through Interscope Records.[15] A limited edition version of the CD was distributed exclusively to Target stores across the United States; it features a 24-page colored photo album consisting of photos from Stefani's childhood and the studio recording sessions for the album, and was released in book-style packaging.[16] On October 26, 2018 the album was re-released as You Make It Feel Like Christmas: Deluxe Edition, containing five bonus tracks.[17] Target also released an exclusive version of the 2018 Deluxe Edition of the album, this time issued in a standard CD jewel case containing a fold-out poster.

Live performances[edit]

Stefani served as a featured performer at the 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

To promote You Make It Feel Like Christmas, the singer embarked on a promotional tour in November and December 2017 where she performed on various television series and at several televised events. On November 20, 2017, Stefani served as a guest on Today and was interviewed about the record in between her performances.[18] Wearing a sleeveless white gown and feather boa, she sang "When I Was a Little Girl", "Santa Baby", and "Christmas Eve" from the album.[19][20][21] During the same appearance, she confirmed her holiday special on NBC, titled Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas, which was slated to air on December 12, 2017.[22] On November 21, Stefani was invited as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and spoke to Fallon about the recording process of the album.[23] Concluding the show, the singer performed "Under the Christmas Lights" to the audience.[24]

During the 2017 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23, Stefani served as a featured performer and selected to sing her cover of "White Christmas" to the crowd. At this event, she wore a "Swarovski-crystal beaded Yousef AlJasmi mini [gown] with a sparkling headpiece, matching Jimmy Choo pumps, and diamond earrings".[25] On December 19, the singer returned to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform her cover of "Last Christmas".[26]

Singles[edit]

On September 21, 2017, Stefani stated that the album's title track would be released as the album's lead single to coincide with the chance for her fans to pre-order the parent album.[27] The following day, "You Make It Feel Like Christmas" was distributed to digital outlets.[28] On November 1 of the same year, a lyric video featuring images of the artwork used in the album's liner notes was uploaded to Stefani's official Vevo page.[29] Due to digital download sales, the song peaked on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which serves as an extension to the Billboard Hot 100, at number two.[30] It also entered the charts in Belgium,[31] Scotland,[32] the United Kingdom,[33] and the Adult Contemporary chart in the United States where it became Stefani's second-most successful entry as a solo artist, only behind 2007's "The Sweet Escape".[34]

A cover of Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" was issued as the album's first promotional single on September 29, 2017.[35] Commercially, it entered the Holiday Digital Songs chart and the Holiday Digital Song Sales chart, both peaking at number seven.[36][37] Additionally, a promotional audio still for "Christmas Eve" was uploaded to Stefani's Vevo account on October 5, 2017.[38]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
ABC News3/5 stars[39]
AllMusic3/5 stars[15]
The New York Times(Favorable)[9]
Slant Magazine3/5 stars[40]

AllMusic's senior editor, Stephen Thomas Erlewine awarded the album three out of five stars. He enjoyed that the record featured a variety of new material, but claimed that the inclusion of "When I Was a Little Girl", "My Gift Is You", and "Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes Before You" was unusual because the tracks "do [not] feel strictly seasonal"; however, Erlewine insisted that "the moments that work have a coquettish charm that is appealing, which is reason enough to warrant a listen".[15] Providing it the same star rating, Allan Raible from ABC News likened the "old-school light" that Stefani sheds on the record and lauded "Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes Before You", "White Christmas", and "My Gift Is You" as the album's three "focus tracks". He added: "Mostly, You Make It Feel Like Christmas sounds like it was a fun record to make. Stefani sounds more animated than has in recent years. Hopefully, this burst of energy will still be present on her next proper solo album."[39]

Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani found Stefani's holiday album to lean towards the "traditional Yuletide fare" rather than the "more contemporary sound" as heard by musicians in recent years. He also found the singer to be "affectionately loyal to the [Christmas] standards", but found that her covers of "Silent Night" and "Let It Snow" were unnecessary. Overall, he also rated the album three out of five stars.[40]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number 51 and atop the Top Holiday Albums chart with 10,000 album-equivalent units for the week ending October 28, 2017.[41] In addition, You Make It Feel Like Christmas was the fourteenth best-selling album of the week on Billboard's Top Album Sales chart, with pure album sales of 9,000 copies (90% of overall units), becoming the list's seventh highest entry.[41][42] Despite this, the record was Stefani's lowest-charting entry as a solo artist, succeeding 2016's This Is What the Truth Feels Like which topped the Billboard 200 and had reported first-week sales of 76,000 copies.[43] During its debut week, You Make It Feel Like Christmas also reached number 11 on the Digital Albums chart,[44] number 14 on the Top Internet Albums component chart,[45] and topped the Holiday Album Sales component chart.[46] Approaching the holiday season, the album reentered several charts. On December 30, 2017, You Make It Feel Like Christmas peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200, becoming the week's "biggest gainer" in terms of sales.[47] It also improved its peak position on several component charts, reaching number nine on the Top Album Sales chart and number seven on the Digital Albums chart.[48][49]

On South Korea's International Albums chart, compiled by Gaon Music Chart, Stefani's album entered at number 15 before departing the following week.[50] You Make It Feel Like Christmas also entered the charts in select European countries. During its release week, it debuted and peaked at number 95 in the Czech Republic.[51] In the United Kingdom and Scotland, the album reached peaks at numbers 55 and 59, respectively, according to the official rankings published by the Official Charts Company.[52][53]

All of the songs on You Make It Feel Like Christmas reached the Holiday Digital Songs and Holiday Digital Song Sales charts in the United States, peaking at the same positions on both charts as well. Of the ten previously unreleased songs on the record, "My Gift Is You", "Last Christmas", and "Jingle Bells" all reached the top ten, charting at numbers six, eight, and nine, respectively. For the remaining original compositions, "Under the Christmas Lights" peaked at number 16, "Christmas Eve" peaked at number 20, "When I Was a Little Girl" peaked at number 25, and "Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes Before You" peaked at number 46. Her covers of "Let It Snow", "White Christmas", and "Silent Night" charted at positions 22, 27, and 33, respectively.[36][37] In December, the singer's cover of "Jingle Bells" was distributed to holiday radio playlists, allowing it to peak at number 5 on Canada's Adult Contemporary chart in December 2017.[54] The song was also included on the official soundtrack to the 2017 film A Bad Moms Christmas.[55]

Track listing[edit]

All songs produced by busbee and Eric Valentine.[56]

You Make It Feel Like Christmas – Standard edition[56]
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Jingle Bells"James Lord Pierpont2:58
2."Let It Snow"2:15
3."My Gift Is You"2:51
4."Silent Night"3:15
5."When I Was a Little Girl"
  • Stefani
  • Tranter
  • busbee
3:29
6."Last Christmas"George Michael4:39
7."You Make It Feel Like Christmas" (featuring Blake Shelton)
2:37
8."Under the Christmas Lights"
  • Stefani
  • Tranter
  • busbee
2:50
9."Santa Baby"
  • Joan Javits
  • Philip Springer
  • Anthony Fred Springer
2:54
10."White Christmas"Irving Berlin3:08
11."Never Kissed Anyone with Blue Eyes Before You"
  • Stefani
  • Tranter
  • busbee
3:03
12."Christmas Eve"
  • Stefani
  • Tranter
  • busbee
3:19
Total length:37:18

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[58] 24
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[51] 95
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[59] 119
Scottish Albums (OCC)[53] 59
South Korean International Albums (Gaon)[50] 15
UK Albums (OCC)[52] 55
US Billboard 200[47] 16
US Top Holiday Albums (Billboard)[60] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Format(s) Label Ref.
Australia October 6, 2017 Standard Digital download Universal Music Australia [61]
United States Interscope [62]
  • Standard
  • Target deluxe
CD [16][63]
October 20, 2017 Standard LP [64]
October 26, 2018 Deluxe Digital download [57]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]