Kristin Chenoweth HAPPINESS IS … NOL! is a glorious addition to your holiday CD collection

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After seeing Kristin Chenoweth kill at the Metropolitan Opera this month, I came home and called her new holiday album HAPPINESS IS … CHRISTMAS !, only to find out that the album, while also featuring many songs from the Met concert, is a very different listening experience … what it should be, and thank goodness. A singer can’t just stand in a recording booth and sing the way they do on stage, and many singers – especially musical theater singers – don’t recognize the need to stop so they don’t explode. the car radio speakers (or your eardrums, if you are listening via Bluetooth). Because Ms. Chenoweth is a savvy singer and world-class artist, she knows which voice to put on and when to do it – while the Met concert was full of energy and electricity, Chenoweth’s holiday album is full of privacy and intellect.

Happiness is … Christmas! begins with a nod to his Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (obviously) and Kristin was thankfully able to gain the powers to accept altered lyrics for the song “Happiness”, in order to adapt it to the theme of the holidays. Some lyrics are a bit hokey but the love for the holidays and for Kristin goes a long way towards letting go of any criticism one might initially feel; the important thing is that the performance of the first track of the album is so rich in nostalgia and honesty on the part of the singer actress, that it whets the appetite for the rest of the CD, twelve tracks in total, ranging from bright and bouncy (a big band infused mashup of “The Man with the Bag” and “Jingle Bell Rock”) to thoughtful and tender (“We Are Lights” by Stephen Schwartz, a highlight of the album). Ms. Chenoweth’s lineup is on full display as she delivers the Broadway belt she’s so famous for, but also as she plays softly and softly in the radio-ready ballad “The Stories That You Told,” a recording that might be lost on some of the younger ones in the house this Christmas Day, but it will resonate with anyone old enough to have a sense of nostalgia on the holidays. It’s a particularly emotional moment on the album, very different from Chenoweth’s 2008 holiday album “A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas” – the first CD is good but reflects Chenoweth’s youth as an artist, while this new offering is a big one informed by the fact that Kristin has a solid knowledge of who she is as an artist, as a woman and as a leader in the entertainment industry. People who listen to Happiness Is … Christmas! are people who admire Chenoweth for the role she played (and continues to play) as a public figure people seek inspiration from. Here she inspires.

Among the different atmospheres created by Kristin on the album, there is a new one, sexier, and which serves as a perfect counterpoint to the spiritual music of the CD. Chenoweth is well known for her faith, a part of her life she has never shied away from, and yet the more religious compositions on the CD thankfully avoid sounding moralizing or suspicious; meanwhile, her sexy and sultry duet of “Merry Christmas Baby” with blues icon Keb ‘Mo’ is a side of Kristin Chenoweth who is welcome as a fifty-three-year-old newly engaged bride (as announced from the stage at Met), represents the women, men and gender-nonconforming people of the world who are no longer children and want a glass of brandy on Christmas, rather than a peppermint latte.

Also noteworthy on the album is an unpretentious rendition of a famous Christmas song created by Judy Garland, but, for this writer, the highlights are a simple and extremely emotional “Merry Christmas Darling” which makes the song of Kristin, completely, and a wonderful “My dear acquaintance” that will send every adult into the New Year with the resolve to call their old friends more often and spend time nurturing their new acquaintances, because the importance of friends resonates more. nowadays than it has been. in many years. Kristin Chenoweth’s gift to everyone – aside from this truly lovely holiday album – is that track that will help all of us stay a little more grounded and focused as we approach the uncertainty of what’s to come. This message, which will come at the end of this album, is a reminder that maintaining friendships is essential. With this record, Kristin Chenoweth is a good friend to us all.

Kristin Chenoweth HAPPINESS IS … CHRISTMAS is a 2021 release on Concord Records. It is available on all digital platforms and on Kristin Chenoweth’s website HERE.


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