JENNIFER SARAN – Merry Christmas, You Are Loved

Tarpan 2015

JENNIFER SARAN - Merry Christmas, You Are Loved

JENNIFER SARAN –
Merry Christmas, You Are Loved

Endearing, if sometimes rather straightforward, Yuletide collection of pieces evergreen and fresh.

Maybe that’s because she’s a major league debutante, but this Hong Kong chanteuse’s first full-length offering is a strange proposition: it’s clearly divided in two parts – a mix of traditional tunes with usual seasonal songs is followed by the pieces Jennifer co-wrote with her producer Narada Michael Walden. The latter are enticing while the former possesses a special charm, as Ms. Saran doesn’t try to put a spin on well-known fare, channeling her soul through them instead so, although the ’70s-styled orchestral sweep and the singer’s faithfulness to the prototypes may grate, Jennifer’s spirituality serves as a saving grace here.

What her duet with Walden on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” lacks in swing is made up for with its warmth in the depth of “Mary, Did You Know” that reveals all the colors of Saran’s voice ringing to the twang of Matthew Heulitt’s guitar. There are also short mood-setting strings interludes – three carols – to counterbalance the melancholically lucid “Oh Holy Night” yet it’s a piano-led take on Amy Grant’s “Breath Of Heaven” that cuts to the emotional bone even before the hymnal chorus. The playfully wistful title track stitching familiar festive form to modern twist on it, Saran’s original material (all with a holiday name in the titles) is of pop kind, so once punchy funk has peppered “Sweetest Christmas” a nice contrast to classics refocuses the listener, and it’s hard to argue with the equally groovy sentiment of “Christmas Is Really My Thang”: Jennifer can handle the mood, indeed.

Hopefully, there’s more in store for her, but the start is nice.

***2/3

January 4, 2016

Category(s): Reviews
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2 Responses in other blogs/articles

  1. […] any seasonal experience, the piety of Jennifer Saran’s Christmas album has proved to be transitional. No, the singer’s second record still has a lot of spirituality to […]

  2. […] Apparently 2015’s “Merry Christmas, You Are Loved” was so auspicious a debut for Ms Saran that, two years down the line, she’s returning to the same place. The homecoming theme runs throughout this record, yet if the place it’s in is the same, it’s a different performer we meet here: more confident, creatively matured and, well, finely seasoned. Most of what’s on offer now, may accompany a quiet evening in front of a fireplace, though, pieces like “I Have My Own Reindeer” oozing a family atmosphere, and still, there are moments that prompt one to shake comfortable numbness and let joy flow to the world. […]

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