Gwen Stefani's Christmas Album, or How I'm Spending This Saturday Afternoon

Most of you know that I adore Gwen Stefani. I have most of my life! Even at the end of the day while I stand bewildered by her current choices, I still very much am a fan. Perhaps not as fervently as I once was; I think that time might be over. I think my Twitter bio has been updated to reflect this sentiment. 

The last year has been ... trying for us OG Gwen/No Doubt fans. A lot of us fell in love with her because she was punk lite, the quirky girl next door who was kind of a badass but also kind of a dork. She was sweet but she was powerful. And as she got older, she became more of a badass, more defined in her own confidence. Remember "Rock Steady" era Gwen or when she dueted with Eve? Fuck yes, for lack of a better term. 

But somewhere in the past year she has gone into soccer mom on steroids mode. And I mean, at first I was like, whatever. I should be supportive, you know? Okay, so maybe "This Is What the Truth Feels Like" wasn't the best album ever, but it wasn't awful. 

Then, the whole Blake thing started. And it's just been downhill from there. And apparently she's religious now? Which isn't a bad thing, it's just very weird to me. But whatever. Questionable choices. 

But then Gwen up and did something straight out of Clay Aiken's playbook - she made a damn Christmas album. SMH WHY DON'T PEOPLE EVER LEARN. 

OK, but she looks cute. 
I have managed to avoid listening to her Christmas album, the same way I've avoided the new Taylor Swift album. Actually Taylor made that difficult on me. And I'm too afraid that "1989" was so perfect and I don't want to ruin that. I've heard what I've needed to hear, okay?! 

True story: I got my hair done yesterday (self-treat) and the hairdresser was like, "I JUST LOVE THIS NEW BLAKE SHELTON SONG. ABOUT THE DOGS?" and I was like, "I just threw up in my mouth, so thank you for that."

OK, starting from the top with ... "You Make It Feel Like Christmas." This is my "livestreamed" review.

And for the record, I'm doing this sober.

"Jingle Bells" - Not awful. Feels very much like a Target commercial. Jesus, it IS a Target commercial. Also, did she change the lyrics to this song? 

To be fair, I actually like this song. Let's keep going.

"Let It Snow"- I don't like when people slow down this song. God, I'm now having a flashback to the Jewel Christmas album AND I DON'T KNOW WHY. 

"My Gift Is You" - Already not into this song because of the title. I know, finding love after having your heart broken is amazing, but man Gwen. You need to do a Bon Iver thing at some point, lock yourself in a cabin, and force yourself to do a concept album. Okay, Gwen is doing a twang thing in here. SKIP.

"Silent Night" - Obviously this is a slower song. "Silent Night" has always been hit or miss for me. Sometimes it's gorgeous and sometimes it's corny AF. This version is somewhere between the two. Like it's slightly charming, but also doesn't feel right? Like Blake Shelton. 

"When I Was a Little Girl" - Very ballad-y. Very country-seeming. It doesn't feel specifically Christmasy, either. It's a damn love song. Surprise!

"Last Christmas" - I wasn't even aware she touched this one. This is one of my favorite more contemporary Christmas songs. She gave it some sort of '60s touch, which isn't actually a bad thing. This version is good, and the first song on the album that is instantly enjoyable. Nice job, Gwen. 

"You Make It Feel Like Christmas" - I've never listened to Blake Shelton before. His voice isn't bad, but it's very country. Why do people like modern country? It's so boring. Gwen sounds happy. Ugh, I admit defeat. This song is surprisingly catchy. I like it, and I need to question everything now. EDIT - Okay, as it goes on, it gets worse. If it felt a little more genuine and the production wasn't so slick, it'd be fantastic.

"Under the Christmas Lights" - Why does this feel sexy?! Dear god. This one has an interesting tempo to it, but it doesn't feel quite cohesive. It sounds like two separate tracks meshed together. It means well, but ultimately doesn't deliver what it's capable of. The production on this track, tho, is more bearable than the last one.

"Santa Baby" - I appreciate what she's trying to do here, but come on man, Kylie Minogue slayed this a few years ago. And Eartha Kitt?!

I don't think I say this often enough, but I love me some Kylie Minogue. 

"White Christmas" - Her version seems to be a tribute to The Drifters' version (which is in most Christmas movies). It's not as fun as that one, but it's certainly better than the last several tracks. Gwen sounds the best when she seems like she is enjoying herself, and here she is. 

"Never Kissed Anyone With Blue Eyes Before You" - Starts sweet, but the lyrics are holy shit obnoxious. Like, dude, we get it. YOUR LIFE IS AWESOME. 

"Christmas Eve" - Definitely the slowest and most somber track on "You Make It Feel Like Christmas." It seems VERY religious, right from the getgo. I am not sure if this is about Blake? Or Jesus? Yup it's about Jesus. 

And with that, I am finished listening to this album. I will always love Gwen, like I said before, the same way I have a soft spot in my heart for several ex-girlfriends and former crushes. But to give you a good picture of how I feel about this, I saved one song from it: "Last Christmas." I don't think it's a BAD dumpster fire of a K-Mart Black Friday sale like I feared it would be, but I don't think it's memorable. It feels too commercial, too much like the fake Christmas tree your Grandma puts up because she doesn't want the real one leaking all over the living room carpet again (true story). Gwen, to quote LCD, I love you but you are bringing me down. 

Now, I am going to listen to my last favorite Christmas album, which is the She & Him one. And of course, this: