The CHAT’s Pop Culture Corner: Holiday Edition!

Undying Royalty: Mariah Carey, the Christmas Queen

Rebekah Barrera, Arts & Entertainment Editor

   Once the Florida heat comes down to that slightly chilly, refreshingly cool air–even as the sun still beams proudly–you know just what time it is. Warm-toned fall decorations come down while brightly colored Christmas trees go up, and with that comes the sweet spirit only holiday music can bring. From the go-tos of Christmas classics, perhaps a certain song deserves the first stream of the season: it’s upbeat, it’s meaningful, and once you hear the iconic words I don’t want a lot for Christmas…, you know that Christmastime has officially begun. 

   Mariah Carey, crowned the ever-reigning “Queen of Christmas” by many around the world, has been the face–or the voice–of the Christmas season for years on end, right below Santa himself! Through her fresh take on what holiday music should sound like, the slow, jazzy sounds of Yuletide in the past turned into the jolly, spirited jingles that would set the foundation for modern Christmas-time music.

   Of course, most would say that she owes her icon-status to none other than her hit song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in her 1994 album Merry Christmas. During a time of contemporary carols, she dared to fill this song with a fast tempo, booming drums, and made use of her vocal range that is like no other. The result: extreme success and a new definition of a Christmas classic! As junior Abigail Santos, a big fan of the holiday, says, “Before her, it was all old fashioned [songs]… then she created her own song, [“All I Want For Christmas Is You”], instead of doing a cover of an old one. It was new and innovative and I think it paved the way for other artists to do the same!”

   25 years after the song was released, Mariah’s track still managed to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, proving that this song alone is a source of Christmas spirit (Apple Music). “Mariah literally CREATED the most iconic and timeless song out of thin air,” junior Kiley Irizarry agrees excitedly. “I feel like most people love ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ because it’s just so timeless and comforting and it embodies the holiday spirit.”

   While the legendary song seems to defy time, the truth is that Mariah released it decades ago, at the young age of 24; still, nothing can hush the well-maintained voice of Mariah Carey! At 52 years old today, she still hits whistle notes like it’s nothing. She even recently became a viral meme when she showcased her vocal range by posting a TikTok of her singing “It’s time!”, referring to what she branded as “#MariahSZN” (TikTok).

   With her youthful voice still holding strong, Mariah Carey continues to encapsulate the joy of Christmas through her music. Her latest album comes in the form of a soundtrack from her 2020 Apple TV+ production, Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, and the singer is even planning her own Christmas program that will be released on CBS on December 20.

   Though a number of today’s kids can’t put a name to her voice, Mariah’s hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, will always be a solid symbol of Christmas. She never ceases to use her talent as a way to spread holiday cheer, and as Kiley says, “If that’s not a queen, then I don’t know what is!”