Christmas-time and sorrowful feelings almost never go hand in hand. It’s supposed to be a joyful occasion, but Sam Smith’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” makes a person think otherwise.
Sam Smith, who made headlines this year with his Grammy nominated album In the Lonely Hour, recently released his own take on Judy Garland’s Christmas hit from the 1944 movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. Since the original recording, multiple artists past and present have put their own twist on the record, including Smith.
Garland’s 1944 version is sweet, solemn and full of hope, just as the lyrics intended the song to be. The wonderful thing about Sam Smith’s version is that he beautifully mirrors that same sound, rather than going for an upbeat approach. It’s amazing that although Garland’s performance of the song is notably tear-worthy, Smith somehow tops that. Credit should be given to the lack of background instruments in Smith’s interpretation. Most versions, including Garland’s, use multiple band sounds, whereas Smith is matched with the soft melody of a piano. The rest of the magic — as well as the overwhelming feelings accompanied by the song — come directly from Smith’s outstanding vocals. His range is phenomenal and has the ability to make even the most joyous of times feel melancholy.
As of now, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is Smith’s only Christmas song, but on behalf of fans of the cover, I sincerely hope he releases more soon.