With the graceful demeanor of a 1920’s jazz singer, Kanisha K draws us into her inescapable melodic web in the new single “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” an ode to the holiday season and a tribute to the sumptuous sounds of winter. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has been around since the mid-1940s, when a certain singer by the name of Bing Crosby breathed life into its gorgeously arranged notes, but to say that it’s been one of the more popularly covered Christmas songs in the seventy five years since might be the understatement of the century. Undaunted by the notion of having to live up to all of those other recording artists who took a crack at this traditional ballad, Kanisha K decadently adds a jazz nuance to the composition’s boxy beat and makes it feel not only like a taste of the holidays akin to bourbon-spiked eggnog, but also like a glimpse into her sonic palate as we’ve never heard it before. She doesn’t hold anything back from us in this new single, and if you love Christmas as much as I do you can consider this track required listening all December long.
Kanisha K is so patient in the execution of her verses that her musical profile has much more in common with the vocal standards singers of the early 20th century than it does with many of her own peers. She’s decidedly more restrained than anyone in contemporary R&B or indie pop, yet she has this intrepid nature as a performer that makes her ambitious goals seem a little easier to reach. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” demands a certain amount of nimbleness from those who try and sing its tender words, but rather than trying to cross the finer points of the song with a lot of vibrato-filled showing off, she glides through the prose without ever attacking its more difficult twists and turns. For someone with the skillset that Kanisha K has there’s no need to embellish the melody with unneeded bells and whistles. She’s letting the groove of this piece do all the work for her and merely adding her vocal stylings as a finishing touch.
There’s so much color and rich texture to this recording that I could spend hours trying to analyze its deeper intricacies. Kanisha K is very good at sewing more minute details together in the fabric of her songs, and though she didn’t pen this one from scratch she put just as much effort into making its ridges feel larger than life itself. We’re nudged closer to the flame in her heart with the utterance each syllable, and instead of feeling like we’re hearing a tired old Christmas song that’s been played at one too many parties it’s like we’re experiencing the same joy that children feel when they come stampeding towards the tree on Christmas morning. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend securing a copy of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” this December; Kanisha K literally takes one of the best songs of the holiday season and brings it into the future for new generations to enjoy as much as we have