Happy Harriet Holidays (Music Thoughts, Maybe This Christmas, Harriet)

harrForget Adele because I have found my new favorite single-named British singer, and guess how she managed to impress me? By a Christmas album, no less. Harriett’s “Maybe This Christmas” could end up as one of my favorite Christmas albums ever. Who is she, you ask? Well, I had to google her myself – an up and coming singer who was discovered on The Graham Norton Show last year, so you know whose sensibilities she attracts, and no wonder I fell instantly in love with her voice. How do I describe her voice? Think a modern day Karen Carpenter. Well, some may say that she sounds like she swallowed Karen whole. She definitely has got Karen’s timbre, especially on the lower notes (In an interview, she has said that she was lulled to sleep with Carpenter music) But I think she has a modern musicality in her phrasing and style, complete with modern vocal fry, which works with her alto because it is not as shreiky. And she has got great taste in her songs, starting with an original “Maybe This Christmas,” which is a very London Christmas kind of song. Her version of “Grown Up Christmas List” is very Karen – close your eyes and it will feel like you are listening to a 1975 Carpenters Christmas album, and while she covers Mariah Carey’s modern classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” she slows the tempo to a ballad making her version her own instantly. She is instantly solemn in “Silent Night,” longing in “I’ll be Home For Christmas,” and in a stroke of arranging genius, pairs “Last Christmas” with “Can’t Smile With you” (Am I the only one who has noticed that these songs that fit so perfectly were both sung by now out gay men?) I cannot believe that I have played this album three times non-stop now and feel like I haven’t had enough. Christmas is sounding better this year already.

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