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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

New Single Alert - Abigail Breslin - Christmas in New York

 Many a singer try to bank on the unstoppable commercial onslaught that is Christmas. Some artists put stockings up in their studios in January and spend a year perfecting an amazing holiday album (Hi, Kelly Clarkson!). Others slap something together very quickly when in need of a buck (We're not naming names, that's not quite goodwill toward men). Every now and then, however, the holiday fire gets a very surprising new yule log thrown its way. And this year, that log is Abigail Breslin.  Is her log worth burning? How long will its flame last? And can we find a better analogy than a log? Let's find out...

Holiday tunes are tricky. If you cover a classic, you have to be very careful. Too many changes and the world will Scrooge you for the rest of your career. Not enough changes and you're likely to be compared (unfavorably) to the original. And we're not saying original songs can't do well, but for every successful original ornament placed on the holiday tree of Christmas classics, there's a hundred more shattered on the ground.

And there are rules... Original holiday tunes are almost always upbeat. Not only that, but they usually have some sort of identifiable Christmas instrument (chimes, bells, flutes, reindeer grunts, etc.). And finally, you can't come off as too "artistic". The holidays aren't about you, Bjork! Quit trying to upstage the baby Jesus! Bjork's never made a Christmas song (to our knowledge), but you get the general idea...

These unwritten rules are unfortunate, but that doesn't make them any less true. So it's quite surprising and refreshing to hear Abigail Breslin succeed by busting them all. You might think her song would have some relation to her films. Your mind may even go to titles like "Little Mistletoe Sunshine", "I Absolutely Love Christmas!...Definitely...Maybe..." or "The Call of Christmas (Hymn from the Trunk of a Car)".

But if we didn't tell you it was Abigail, or throw any of those ridiculous song titles in your head, you'd be very impressed. And you likely will be anyway...

This song is not upbeat at all. It's downright depressing. Sad holiday originals are the rarest of the herd, and Mariah Carey's delightfully soul-crushing "Miss You Most (at Christmas Time)" is the only remotely recent one that comes to mind (recent as in almost 20 years ago). There also aren't any holiday noises in this song (which is a shame, a reindeer grunt could've added its frustrated feel).

It's the last unwritten rule of Christmas songs that Abigail breaks the most beautifully. This song is very artistic, without being the slightest bit pretentious or off-putting. It will make you believe an actress is credibly talented in the world of music. It's a veritable Miracle on Park Avenue.

The only flaw is the music video. Christmas in New York is indeed the perfect backdrop for a song called Christmas in New York. And there's enough holiday imagery to make you smile. Unfortunately, Abigail playing in the street makes us fear for her life, and the pained expressions on her face go well beyond sadness and melodrama. She looks like she's headed to the gas chamber.

But awkward holiday terror aside, you should definitely go buy Christmas in New York on iTunes if you're in the mood to experience an artistic and authentic take on Christmas. If you're in the mood to feel terror and mind-numbing sadness, you can watch the video for it below, but you might want to take some anti-depressants first..!

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