Even the most avid Christmas fan might believe that autumn is too early to start listening to holiday music. But with Thanksgiving now past, Ingrid Michaelson’s early release will put even the biggest Grinch in the holiday spirit.
The indie-folk singer, famous for such hits as “You and I” and “The Way I Am,” is a self-proclaimed “Christmas-obsessed human” according to an interview with Billboard magazine. Never having released a holiday album, Michaelson has been putting on a “Holiday Hop” show in New York City for the past 11 years and counting, featuring covers of various holiday music as well as performances of Michaelson’s non-Christmas related hit songs.
Michaelson’s “Songs For The Season”, released on Oct. 26 of this year, contains a number of classic covers in a style reminiscent of a female Michael Buble. With features from artists such as Christina Perri, Grace Vanderwaal, and “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., the album presents itself as both a classic crooner album and a fresh take on the songs due to Michaelson’s unique voice.
While the majority of the album includes covers of well-known Christmas songs, Michaelson released one original holiday song on the album ironically titled “Happy, Happy Christmas.” Michaelson wrote the song in remembrance of her mother who passed away in 2014. Having additionally lost her father since then, the singer has had to reform many beloved holiday traditions, such as opening presents at her parents’ house on Christmas day. While Michaelson isn’t a fan of change, she finds comfort in moving this tradition into her own home with her boyfriend’s daughters and brother’s family.
Michaelson knows she is not alone in her holiday-time loneliness and wishes to feel connected and give voice to those who are also missing their deceased loved ones around the holiday season. “I felt like it was important for me to acknowledge that, while I do love Christmas, and it is a very special time of year for me, there are also really, really dark and sad moments, too,” Michaelson told Billboard magazine in September of this year.
Besides, her more melancholy original song, “Songs For The Season” works to fit almost any mood, with more upbeat songs such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and a romantic, stripped-down version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in the style of a duet with Leslie Odom Jr. The album makes use of vintage-sounding piano, violin, and brass instruments true to Michaelson’s distaste for changing classic holiday traditions. The indie-folk singer’s fresh and light voice is made to sound even more reminiscent of past times with features such as a mixture of voices in the chorus and jazz influences.
Regardless of one’s attitude towards the holiday season, Michaelson’s “Songs For The Season” are bound to bring feelings of nostalgia and classic Christmas spirit to any listener. If your taste is for the more mellow and relaxed music for sitting by the fire and wrapping Christmas gifts, this may be one of the most exceptional albums to come out for the genre in years.