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Jekalyn Carr’s “Great Christmas”

Like a flickering candle flame made all the stronger against the winter wind, Jekalyn Carr’s “Great Christmas” comes to life out of nowhere and immediately forces anyone listening to its vivacious beat to the edge of their seats, but despite the seductive nature of its opening bars, the real magic in this single doesn’t truly get started until Carr herself has begun to sing. In this track, she’s crooning her way around a one-of-a-kind hook steeped in both R&B as well as crossover gospel/pop aesthetics but not quite conditioned to either genre enough to dissuade fans of all music from giving it some love this Christmas.

Inside the song’s first thirty seconds, Carr creates a captivating lyrical foundation that is skewed by a lusty groove even more powerful than the depth of the harmony. She battles with the drums for supremacy in the master mix, leading us further down the rabbit hole of cerebral melodicism with each word she sings, and though the energy only gets stronger as we continue forward, there’s something to be said about the fireworks that get the ball rolling in this latest addition to the ‘best holiday songs of 2022’ playlist.

Traditionally, when Jekalyn Carr is breaking off a verse, there isn’t anything commanding as her voice is, but I don’t know that this is the case with “Great Christmas.” She’s undeniably backed by a viciously intriguing bassline here, and even when her vocal is layered close to the top of the mix, it’s always shadowed by an efficient but wholly lush melodic undertow.

The emotion in her verses, as inspirational as the seasonal source they’re taking so much influence from, is reflected beautifully in the harmony she sews into the groove, but I wouldn’t discount the actual words she’s conveying to us here as being an artistic afterthought. There’s a lot of heart in every aspect of this composition, from the production technique employed to the way that Carr utilizes every bit of space in the mix to exude her stylish confidence, and if you ask me, it wouldn’t have sounded nearly as accessible nor as believably honest as it does on this occasion were it performed by anyone other than this amazingly talented woman.

“Great Christmas” finishes up with as much of a bang as it starts with, and if you’re able to resist the temptation to play the track all over again once its melodic swing has come to a stop, you’re a heck of a lot stronger than I am. Jekalyn Carr is making quite the name for herself thanks to the continuous growth she’s shown off just in the last year, and as long as she stays with this present model for making music, I think she’s going to acquire even more fans throughout 2023. She’s got the skills to produce just about any kind of single she wants, and in “Great Christmas,” she demonstrates just how diverse her professional ambitions are at this moment in her career. This is a unique, quality holiday vibe with extra panache, and both critics and audiences are taking note right now.

Mindy McCall



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