These charts show the distribution of Mariah Carey’s classic Christmas carol

Experts say the definition of Christmastime is changing, from the intrusion of festive tunes to a shift in when people start shopping for the holiday season.

The Rise of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’

In the late 2000s, people listened to Carey’s song for more than an average of 31 days in the last three months of the year. By the beginning of 2010, that number had risen to 40 days, and has risen to 78 in the past three years.

“The charts are dominated by the latest hit single, and the appetite for new music is the drive to climb the charts — the only exception being Christmas,” said Nate Sloan, an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Southern California. “It has a lot to do with the emotional support we get from this holiday.”

Since its 1994 debut on Carey’s first holiday album, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has taken on a life of its own – becoming a quick holiday classic despite its short lifespan, spawning multiple covers and collaborations and climbing the charts. year after year.

Sloan attributed the song’s continued success and longevity to Carey’s vocal prowess, songwriting, and the niche Christmas carols fill.

“As a musician and singer, Mariah Carey is part of the pantheon of virtuosos and vocalistivas of the 90s and 2000s. She is an astonishingly gifted singer known for her ability to reach extraordinarily high notes and the whistling tone, which is out of range. of the natural human voice,” he said.

He explained that the Christmas carol contained all the ingredients of what makes a Christmas carol effective: sleigh bells, a well-crafted structure, and a storyline.

“The song starts with sleigh bells, which is a must for any Christmas classic,” Sloan said. “And then she builds this tension over the song where she says she doesn’t want this or that, then she says the title of the song we’re waiting for and that’s when there’s such a payoff.”

The more people tune in to the song, the more they begin to associate it with these “emotional psychological reactions” around the holidays, he said. “It becomes a sonic marker of family, warmth and leisure.”

Carey fans like Ellis Srubas-Giammanco agreed, saying Christmas can be stressful at times, citing anxiety about sorting out gift guides, travel and food plans.

Srubas-Giammanco said Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” works almost like a “happy reminder and salve” for all those insecurities.

“Who doesn’t want to return to that feeling, song and season sooner and earlier?”

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