Mariah Carey's new Christmas single, amazingly, just isn't Christmassy enough

Mariah Carey is the undisputed Queen of Christmas, so obviously there’s a certain level of anticipation when she decides to drop a new festive track.

Unfortunately, when you’ve already perfected the craft, everything else will pale in comparison.

Mariah has teamed up with Khalid and Kirk Franklin for her new song, Fall in Love at Christmas, and while we always welcome a new entry to the Christmas playlist, take out the mentions of jingle bells and gifts under the tree and we’re not quite sure this is even a Christmas song.

The elusive chanteuse sings: ’In the candles gloom, I’m awake, but no one, no/ Just waitin’ patiently to hear the sleigh bells jingle, there they go/ And while the northern star lights the way I dream of us/ So let’s fall in love again this Christmas night.’

But make no mistake, until the final minute, this is just a well-crafted R’n’B slow jam with Christmas keywords shoehorned in.

Mariah sounds as incredible as ever, with her trademark whistle tone still sending chills down our spines when she whips it out towards the song’s crescendo, and Khalid’s soulful tone compliments her perfectly.

Despite the Queen of Crimbo really trying her best to ramp up the festive spirit – a special shout-out goes to ‘fa-la-la fall in love with feeling’ – if Fall in Love at Christmas came on in the car and you weren’t really paying attention, you’d just assume it was a classic, any time of the year, ballad from the 90s.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments. The kitchen sink is thrown at the song in the closing minute, with a choir popping up – clearly taking a leaf out of The X Factor Christmas week book – led by the legendary Kirk Franklin. Unfortunately, that’s saved for the main cut and not the radio version, making the one you’re most likely to hear even less festive.

Fall in Love at Christmas is nowhere near the joy of All I Want For Christmas Is You – although, what is? – or even last year’s collaboration with Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, Oh Santa!, and just isn’t Christmassy, camp or gaudy enough to rival modern classics like Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson and One More Sleep by Leona Lewis.

Still, we admire Mariah’s commitment to the season, and even when she misses, she’s still closer to the fur-trimmed, jingle bell-plastered brief than most.

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