Mariah Carey chronology
Singles from Merry Christmas
"All I Want for Christmas Is You" Released: November 1, 1994
"Joy to the World" Released: November, 1994
Mariah Carey and Merry Christmas MP3..
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|The Baltimore Sun||(favorable)|
|The Boston Globe||(favorable)|
|The New York Times||(mixed)|
Merry Christmas garnered generally positive reviews from music critics. Barry Schwartz, editor of Stylus Magazine, gave Merry Christmas a very positive review, praising Mariah Carey's vocals, Merry Christmas's authenticity and songwriting. Schwartz wrote, "Dr. Seuss was mad Jewish, but he wrote in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, “Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand.” That's pretty nice. He figured that shit out. There's no guilt. No guilt in being a Jew who envies Christmas, or being a Jew who enjoys Christmas music, or being a badass (as I am) and still liking Mariah Carey, because, all this stuff is freaking awesome." Aside from Merry Christmas, Schwartz lauded "All I Want for Christmas Is You", calling it, "To say this song is an instant classic somehow doesn't capture its amazingicity; it's a modern standard: joyous, exhilarating, loud, with even a hint of longing (ooh longing!). She sings, “I don't want a lot for Christmas / I won't even wish for snow,” such a beautiful phrase delivered with full sincerity over rolling pianos, spine-squashing tympanis, philharmonic strings, and a quasi-wall of sound—and Mariah's gorgeous voice bursts through it all. Fuck, why haven't I been celebrating Christmas?!" J.D. Considine from The Baltimore Sun said that Merry Christmas "may look like just another attempt to cash in on Christmas cheer, but is actually the work of someone who genuinely loves this music. Granted, Mariah Carey's gospel inclinations come through a lot stronger than might be expected on traditional tunes like "Silent Night", but that hardly diminishes the effect of her performance; in fact, her soulful ornamentation adds oomph to the reading of "O Holy Night". But Merry Christmas's real strength is the conviction she brings to otherwise corny fare like "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town", while the way she augments "Joy to the World" with a bit of the Three Dog Night hit is pure genius."
Merry Christmas received a less enthusiastic review from Roch Parisien of Allmusic, who praised "All I Want for Christmas Is You", writing, "On the positive side, her co-penned (one of three) "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is a well-crafted Phil Spector tribute, with Beach Boys-style harmonies, jangling bells, and a sleigh-ride pace, injecting one of the few bits of exuberant fun in this otherwise vanilla set." However, he was more critical of Mariah Carey's take on "O Holy Night" and "Joy to the World," writing, "Pretensions to high opera on "O Holy Night" and a horrid dance club take on "Joy to the World." Steve Morse from The Boston Globe commented "Her early albums were often polished to a fault, but she cuts loose with unbridled soul on the new Christmas disc. Oddly enough, it may be her best album. She blends original songs (such as "All I Want for Christmas Is You", which debuted in video form on MTV this week) with traditional carols ("Silent Night" and "Joy to the World") and even Phil Spector's Yuletide classic, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"." Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote "There are gospelly versions of familiar carols like "Silent Night", dramatic ballads like her own "Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)", and uptempo imitations, with chimes, of Phil Spector's 1963 Christmas album, like "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town". Regardless of backup, Ms. Mariah Carey oversings, glutting songs with her vocal tics—like sliding down from the note above the melody note—and turning expressions of devotion into narcissistic displays."