Produced by Greg Kurstin, who helped imbue Kelly Clarkson’s 2013 album Wrapped in Red with a timeless quality, Sia’s Everyday Is Christmas is a notably less successful heaping of yuletide cheer. That’s partly because the traditionally minded format doesn’t exactly lend itself to the Aussie singer-songwriter’s idiosyncratic vocal style. Rife with brass and sleigh bells, “Candy Cane Lane” would fit snugly alongside most holiday jingles on the radio, but Sia too often sounds like she’s singing with a mouthful of Christmas candy. The strained verses are similarly unintelligible on the album’s first single, “Santa’s Coming for Us,” the repeated titular warning of which borders on predatory, while the title track’s hook—“Every day is Christmas when you’re here with me”—sounds more like a jail sentence than a “gift that keeps giving.”
Everyday Is Christmas is composed entirely of originals, including the haunting closing track, “Underneath the Christmas Lights,” and Sia deserves credit for not simply churning out cookie-cutter covers of holiday favorites. “Snowman” is a clever ode to fleeting romance—“A puddle of water can’t hold me close,” Sia laments—but the anthropomorphization of snow itself on “Snowflake” is, despite a jazzy arrangement of tinkling piano and drum brush strokes, less heartwarming. “Puppies Are Forever” is more like children’s album fare—complete with barking dogs—than a future standard. Likewise, there’s little about the dour “Everyday Is Christmas” that conjures Christmastime aside from the grammatically dubious title itself.