There’s really nothing quite like a good Christmas tune to get the holiday season started right, and in their new duet “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,” Ingrid Michaelson and Zooey Deschanel kindle the yuletide spirit with a panache you don’t find often enough in pop music anymore. Rather than approaching this track with the melodic fragility a lot of other, similarly-talented singers have been utilizing in recent years, both Michaelson and Deschanel are pretty aggressive with their management of the harmony in this single, affording us the kind of upfront passion that has been missing from the mainstream since the pandemic-influenced lull in live music commenced almost two years ago.
“Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” isn’t all vocal wonder exclusively; on the contrary, I think this instrumental arrangement shows off the complexities of Michaelson’s pop aesthetics more than some of her previously released material has. She’s more relaxed in her delivery here, and yet the structure of this single feels more demanding of her abilities. Deschanel is a fantastic yin to her yang, and together I think they highlight just how much they bring to the table – especially when the material is as masterfully well-tuned as this is.
A lot of the duets I’ve been spinning lately haven’t featured the kind of talent equality that this song does, and I absolutely believe this is part of the reason why “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” goes down smoother than holiday eggnog. When she’s connecting with a likeminded singer, Michaelson is all the more powerful and difficult to contain from a production standpoint, and with the incredibly underrated pipes of one Zooey Deschanel in this mix, you can bet everything you’ve got on the fireworks flying like it is the fourth of July.
I normally consider myself pretty hard to please when it comes to Christmas music, mostly because there’s such a wide variety of content to choose from no matter what year it is, but this is a track and video that had me feeling excited about the season from the moment I first listened to it forward. Ingrid Michaelson didn’t need any assistance in showing off her prowess in the recording studio, but when we’re allowed the opportunity to hear what she can do at full capacity, she never fails to give up a performance that we won’t soon forget. She and Zooey Deschanel deserve high marks for this single, and my gut tells me they’re going to get them.