This Holliday Night
Margo Rey’s follow up to her last single, “Never2Late”, is a re-release of her 2014 holiday stunner “This Holiday Night”. Her professional debut at eleven years old opened a career that has taken Rey through various incarnations – rocker, pop performer, jazz chanteuse, band leader, and theater performer. This release adds holiday balladeer to her impressive resume, but merely adding another notch to her artistic bedpost isn’t the truly significant thing. Instead, “This Holiday Night” and other similarly themed material makes an impression thanks to the absolute confidence and ease with which she inhabits and even transforms traditionally predictable material.
I hate Christmas music, as a rule. The vast majority of holiday songs are pandering, paint-by-numbers nonsense profiting from our sentimentality, and peddling insincerity by the verse-load. Idealists, children, and the elderly sustain the formula with their doe-eyed swooning. Margo Rey, thankfully, isn’t interested in any of that. Her songwriting bubbles over with genuine Christmas spirit without ever becoming sickly sweet, remains grounded in every day details, and manages to infuse those seemingly mundane things with quiet, deeply personal grandeur. There isn’t a second in this track when you don’t believe her and, more importantly, you don’t sense her absolute commitment to what she’s sharing with her audience.
It’s apparent in her vocal, if nowhere else. It’s slightly awe-inspiring to hear the obvious care she takes to bring her voice in seamless union with the song’s changes and, more importantly, its spirit. She perfectly modulates her phrasing against the song’s string section while the piano seems to provide counterpoint for her voice. There’s a bit of an implied storytelling at work in how Rey draws out or speeds up certain syllables, bears down or glides over certain words. It creates another layer of tension in the music that finds regular release with the resolution of each new passage.
The song, like most of Rey’s music, defies easy categorization. A superficial, knee-jerk response might label it as pop, but the composition’s orchestral qualities shatter pop’s narrow conventions. It really doesn’t matter, however, except as a cataloging tool. For Margo Rey, music is music at the end of the day. How you arrive at responding to her music and singing is immaterial. The important thing is that you listened with an open heart and responded at all. Margo Rey builds her art on her open heart and it shines through every bar of “This Holiday Night”.
Snatch this up if you can. Mothball the hoary old classics likely cooked up in song factories of yore and, instead, embrace the sort of inspired fare that Margo Rey offers far fuller with genuine seasonal spirit than the golden oldie carols we all know. Her performance on “This Holiday Night” is gloriously free of any self-consciousness, parody, or slick saleswomanship. Instead, it beats with depth, compassion, and fierce musical intelligence.
Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/This-Holiday-Night/dp/B005ZLY5SW