There’s a darn good reason why so many folks harbor such disdain for Christmas music. Truth be told, much of it is about as compelling as a big-ass bowl of pabulum pudding. However, there have been a few holiday releases over the years worthy of seasonal celebration. The 1993 Gloria Estefan record Christmas Through Your Eyes was a zesty-flavored holiday entrée. In 2013, Mary J. Blige got down and delivered an R&B-driven doozie with A Mary Christmas. Gwen Stefani swerved into all six lanes while on the way to Grandma’s house with her 2017 sugar cookie classic, You Make It Feel Like Christmas. And in 2022, you can post a NEW entry to the “Christmas Albums That Don’t Suck” list.

Simply put, pop princess Debbie Gibson checks ALL of the right boxes with her latest release, Winterlicious. Packing the fresh peppermint punch of an all-day candy cane, the 14-song collection opens with an irresistibly slinky, big band rendition of the timeless treat, “Let It Snow.” Along with co-producer Sean Thomas, Gibson breathes new life into “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Fueled by massive orchestration, this traditional Christmas standard now possesses a certain heart-racing urgency — as if she’s singing a song of joy while being chased by the abdominal snowman. And it works beautifully.

Additionally, Gibson puts a lively Latin-pop spin on the ol’ “Jingle Bell Rock” / “Christmas Song” mini medley while “Sleigh Ride” steps out with renewed swagger.

Be sure, the classic Christmas cover tracks all crackle like chestnuts-a-roastin’. However, per her impeccable rep, it’s Gibson’s original songs that make Winterlicious so special. “Christmas Star” and “Jingle Those Bells” are as crisp as the crunch of newly-fallen snow under your feet as you stroll through a winter wonderland. And both “Christmas Dreams” and “Illuminate” feel as cozy as cuddling on the couch with your sweetie pie — while a loveable lab curls up at your feet, donning her festive new Christmas collar — Daisy.

The newly-minted Christmas poster girl keeps her thumb placed on the pulse of the season from start to finish. Heck, even Jesus makes a couple of cool cameos along the way. Uh, wait a second — didn’t those “smart” people cancel Jesus’ Christmas Club membership card years ago? Hmm. Anyway, the season also is about friends AND family. And once again, Gibson checks that box with a fine-tipped Sharpie. The heartfelt duet with her father, Joe, makes Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” cozier than ever. A loving tribute to her late mother, Diane, “Cheers!” reunites Gibson with celebrated co-producer Fred Coury — making for one of the record’s most moving moments.

Debbie Gibson, photo by Nick Spanos

In sum, you can go tell it on the mountains, kids — Debbie Gibson’s Winterlicious is a true (out of the) blue Yuletide treasure. Find it on all streaming platforms, as well as at various retail outlets in physical formats. Yes, that means vinyl — COLORED vinyl too. God bless us, everyone!

Winterlicious Track Listing:

1. Let It Snow (2:48)
2. I Wish Everyday Was Christmas (3:23)
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (3:10)
4. Heartbreak Holiday ( 4:31)
5. The Gift (4:12)
6. Christmas Star (3:18)
7. Jingle Those Bells (3:17)
8. The Candy Man (3:00)
9. Christmas Dreams (3:13)
10. Sleigh Ride (3:13)
11. Jingle Bell Rock / The Christmas Song (3:18)
12. Illuminate (4:07)
13. White Christmas (3:06)
14. Cheers! (4:24)

Run Time: 49:00
Release Date: October 21, 2022
Record Label: StarGirl Records

Author

Christopher Long is a celebrated author, entertainment writer, TV / radio contributor, award-winning musician, popular speaker and international missionary. Referred to once as "the rock and roll Erma Bombeck," Long is known for his conversational, common sense writing style and possessing a passion for sharing his unique perspectives on pop culture, faith and politics. Raised in Missouri's rugged Ozark Mountains and on Florida's sunny Space Coast, Long currently lives near Cocoa Beach. (AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com)