In The New Christmas Canon, The A.V. Club looks beyond Rudolph’s nose and Zuzu’s petals to highlight entertainment from the ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s that has become a seasonal staple—or deserves to. Mariah Carey had a banner year in 1994. Her third studio album, 1993’s Music Box, had grown into a blockbuster hit, thanks to the chart success of songs such as the Harry Nilsson cover “Without You” and the inspirational “Hero.” Billboard named Carey the top female pop singles artist of 1994—she had five singles chart in the Hot 100—and the top female pop artist overall, as measured by combined albums and singles activity. Still, even being on a commercial hot streak didn’t guarantee that her 1994 Christmas album, Merry Christmas, which spawned “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” was going to find an audience. “Twenty years ago, Christmas music and Christmas albums by artists weren’t the big deal that they are today,” Walter Afanasieff, one of Carey’s frequent songwriting and producing collaborators during the ’90s, told Billboard in 2014. “Back then, you didn’t have a lot of artists with Christmas albums. It wasn’t a known science at all back then, and there was nobody who did new, big Christmas songs. So we were going to release it as kind of an everyday, ‘Hey, you know, we’re putting out a Christmas album. No big deal.’” Bucking this trend, Merry Christmas sold briskly in the U.S. After rising to No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, the record was… [Read full story]
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