First Listen: Mariah Carey’s “Fall In Love at Christmas”

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Mariah Carey is so Christmas that she’s been respectably elected as a permanent fixture of the holiday season, right alongside Santa and co. This year, Carey’s annual declaration to the start of the season involved a shattering of pumpkins in full diva mode – a glittering ensemble and a wind machine, for her hair of course. After all, this is Mariah Carey we’re talking about.

The wait is over, because when the Queen of Christmas says it’s time to get festive, that means it’s time to get festive. At midnight on November 1, she let us know “IT’S TIME!”. Time to start the countdown to Christmas, time to let the holiday spirit move us again and time to fall in love. On November 5, Mariah Carey unleashed her latest self-penned Christmas original: “Fall In Love at Christmas.” Watch the video, then read our staff’s reactions below:

Staff Reactions

“Fall In Love at Christmas” is a lush, beautiful ballad that borrows the melancholic sentiment of “Miss You Most,” mixes it with a gorgeous guitar-laced melody and completes it with a baby making R&B beat (remember when Mariah made “Born Is the King” into a sexy interlude on Merry Christmas II You?). The apparent sadness of the track is, however, mitigated by the gentle touch of Mariah’s beautiful tone blending with Khalid’s lower register and the hopeful lyrics about finding love in the holiday cheer. As if all of this weren’t enough, Kirk Franklin leads the outro into a Gospel frenzy: Mariah harmonizes with the choir, the piano chords get thumping and the whole crew catches the Holy Ghost. —Mario M.

Featuring R&B’s Khalid and Gospel’s very own Kirk Franklin, the new single combines Mariah and Khalid’s plush vocals together, as they magically glide over frost-covered chimes and jingles, with a surprising Spanish guitar tuning in the outskirts. The centerpiece, though, of the five-minute-long track (which is a practical eternity by today’s standards) is the choir-assisted outro. As Franklin conducts each voice in perfect harmony, Carey’s high notes soar to the stars, making it almost impossible for listeners to handle both the Holy Ghost that’s being summoned and Carey’s still perfect pitch. A song for either a cozy night in by the fire, or a meeting under the mistletoe, “Fall In Love At Christmas” proves that nobody can do Christmas quite like Mariah Carey can. Complaints? Not one. —John Antonucci

Mariah Carey wrote her first Christmas song in 1994, and it went on to become the most successful Holiday song of all-time. So, no pressure, right? Adding yet another original song to her Christmas canon is surely not a responsibility that the reigning Queen of Christmas takes lightly. “Fall In Love at Christmas” is the eleventh, and proof that Mariah is Queen for a reason. Carey has not lost her touch. Akin yet unlike any of her previous originals, the duet packs a variety of Christmas-favorites; it’s got all the bells and whistles — literally, and figuratively; musically, and vocally. Khalid joins Mariah for the fireside, Latin-tinged groove that makes up the bulk of the song, before Kirk Franklin brings in the choir for a moment of “grace upon grace.” The song serves a lot in its five minutes, and is the perfect chill counterpart to the frenetically festive behemoth by which all of Carey’s Christmas originals are inherently overshadowed. In time, we can only hope that this and her other originals receive their fair share of the shine. —Vincent Anthony

Stream Mariah Carey’s “Fall In Love at Christmas”

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