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All I Want for Christmas Is You is a song by Mariah Carey from her fourth studio album, "Merry Christmas." An uptempo love song, the instrumentation includes bell chimes and heavy back-up vocals, as well as use of synthesizers. The song's lyrics declare that the protagonist does not care about Christmas presents or lights; all she wants for Christmas is to be united with her lover for the holidays.

Two music videos were commissioned for the song, both being filmed during the month of December 1993. The song's primary music video features grainy home footage of Carey, her dogs and family during the holiday season, as well as Carey dressed in a Santa suit frolicking on a snowy mountainside.

Then husband Tommy Mottola makes a cameo appearance as Santa Claus, bringing Carey a gift and leaving on a red sleigh. The second video was filmed in black and white format, and features Carey dressed in 1960s style, while paying homage to The Ronettes, alongside back up singers and male dancers.

Carey performed "All I Want for Christmas is You" during a slew of live television appearances and tours throughout her career. She first sang it live during the Japanese leg of her Daydream World Tour, Butterfly World Tour, and Charmbracelet World Tour as well as the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade in 2004 and 2010, both of which aired on ABC.

A So So Def remix version was released in 2000, and a dance mix in 2009. In 2010, Carey re-recorded the song for her second holiday album, "Merry Christmas II You, titled: "All I Want for Christmas Is You (Extra Festive)."

Critically, "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been lauded, with The New Yorker calling it "one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon." The song was commercially successful, reaching the number two position on the single charts of Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom, and the top 10 in several other countries.

The song became the 19th-best-selling digital single of the 20th century, the highest-charting entry by a female or holiday song on the list. The Daily Telegraph hailed "All I Want for Christmas Is You" as the most popular and most played Christmas song of the decade in the United Kingdom.

Rolling Stone ranked it 4th on its "Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs" list, calling it a "holiday standard." With global sales of over 10 million copies, the song remains one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Song BackgroundEdit

After a string of commercially successful albums, Carey's label, Columbia Records began exercising the idea of the singer releasing a Christmas album. They felt that up until that point, Carey had been viewed as a pop singer. With the record, Columbia intended to broaden Carey's target market, and have her perceived more as an entertainer, not just a singer.

Having been brought up as Christian and always celebrating Christmas, she agreed to create a holiday-themed album. With Walter Afanasieff, Carey co-wrote "All I Want for Christmas Is You" while recording the album in mid-1994. In an interview, Carey explained the inspiration behind the song:

"I'm a very festive person and I love the holidays. I've sung Christmas songs since I was a little girl. I used to go Christmas caroling. When it came to the album, we had to have a nice balance between standard Christian hymns and fun songs. It was definitely a priority for me to write at least a few new songs, but for the most part people really want to hear the standards at Christmas time, no matter how good a new song is."

Ostensibly, the song was inspired by Carey's romantic sentiments toward her then-husband Tommy Mottola. After the album's release, many promotional singles were released; while other songs were sent to Christian airplay radio stations, "All I Want for Christmas Is You" was sent to pop and Top 40 channels. Author Chris Nickson described the song as "fun and mellow" and he felt its uptempo beat contrasted with the album's strong religious theme, broadening the album's appeal to teenage audiences.

Music VideoEdit

There are three music videos for "All I Want for Christmas Is You". The first, primary video was shot in the style of a home video; it was directed and filmed by Carey during the Christmas season of 1993. The video begins with Carey placing holiday ornaments on a Christmas tree and frolicking through the snowy mountainside.

Outdoor scenes were shot at the Fairy Tale Forest in New Jersey, where Carey's then-husband Tommy Mottola made a cameo appearance as Santa Claus. It continues with scenes of Carey getting ready for her album cover photo shoot and spending time with her dog Jack. It concludes with Santa Claus leaving Carey with a bag of presents and waving goodbye.

In the song's alternate video, inspired by The Ronettes, Carey dances in a 1960s-influenced studio surrounded by go–go dancers. For a 1960s look, the video was filmed in black and white, with Carey in white boots and teased up hair. This video was also directed by Carey. There are two edits to this version of the video.

Another video was created for the So So Def remix, but it does not feature Carey or the hip-hop musicians that perform in the song. Instead, the video is animated and based on a scene in the video from Carey's "Heartbreaker."

It features cartoon cameo appearances by Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Bow Wow, Luis Miguel (Carey's boyfriend at the time), Carey's dog Jack, and Santa Claus. Kris Kringle is credited with directing the music video. Since 2009, the song has been included in a music video accompanying ESPN's Christmas Day coverage of the NBA.

Song RemixesEdit

When the song was first released as a single in 1994, no remixes were commissioned. Carey re-released the song commercially in Japan in 2000, with a new remix known as the So So Def remix. The remix contains new vocals and is played over a harder, more urban beat; it features raps by Jermaine Dupri and Bow Wow.

The remix appears on Carey's compilation album, "Greatest Hits as a bonus track. In 2009, a remix produced by Carey and Low Sunday, called "Mariah's New Dance Mix", was released. The mix laid the original 1994 vocals over new electronic instrumentation.

The remix garnered a positive response. MTV's Kyle Anderson wrote that "it's difficult to improve perfection," but that the remix "does dress up the song in a disco thump that should make your office Christmas party 28% funkier than it was last year." Idolator's Becky Bain praised the song's catchiness.

In 2010, Carey re-recorded the song for her thirteenth studio and second holiday album, "Merry Christmas II You" entitled "All I Want for Christmas Is You (Extra Festive)", the new version featured re-recorded vocals, softer bell ringing and stronger drumming, and an orchestral introduction that replaced the a capella introduction.

Steven J. Horowitz from Rap-Up wrote that the new version "sound[ed] just as enjoyable as it did in 1994." While the song was praised, it drew criticism for being too similar to the original. Thomas Connor from the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the new version "just seems to add a few brassy backup singers to the exact same arrangement."

Caryn Ganz from Rolling Stone agreed, writing that it was "hard to figure out what's 'extra festive'" about the new version. Dan Hancox, editor of The National, also felt the new version was unnecessary.

In 2011, pop singer Justin Bieber also recorded a version of the song as a duet with Carey, titled "All I Want for Christmas Is You (Superfestive!)", on his holiday album, "Under the Mistletoe."

The accompanying music video for the duet was filmed in Macy's department store in New York, and features Bieber shopping with his friends whilst Carey poses on a staging area next to a Christmas tree and gifts. The two rejoice at the end by sitting in a sleigh with a crowd of young customers handing out gifts to everyone.

Song ReceptionEdit

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" was very well received by music critics. Parisien called the song "well-crafted", complimenting its instrumentation and melody. Steve Morse, editor of The Boston Globe, wrote that Carey sang with a lot of soul. According to Barry Schwarz from Stylus Magazine, "to say this song is an instant classic somehow doesn't capture its amazingicity; it's a modern standard: joyous, exhilarating, loud, with even a hint of longing." Schwartz praised the song's lyrics as well, describing them as "beautifully phrased," and calling Carey's voice "gorgeous" and "sincere."

Bill Lamb from called it a "contemporary classic." Kyle Anderson from MTV labeled the track "a majestic anthem full of chimes, sleigh bells, doo-wop flourishes, sweeping strings and one of the most dynamic and clean vocal performances of Carey's career."

While reviewing the 2009 remix version, Becky Bain from Idolator called the song a "timeless classic" and wrote, "We love the original song to pieces—we blast it while decorating our Christmas tree and lighting our Menorah."

In his review for Carey's "Merry Christmas II You," Thomas Connor from the Chicago Sun-Times called the song "a simple, well-crafted chestnut and one of the last great additions to the Christmas pop canon."

Shona Craven of Scotland's The Herald, said, "[it's] a song of optimism and joy that maybe, just maybe, hints at the real meaning of Christmas." Additionally, she felt the main reason it was so successful is the subject "you" in the lyrics, explaining, "Perhaps what makes the song such a huge hit is the fact that it's for absolutely everyone."

Craven opened her review with a bold statement: "Bing Crosby may well be turning in his grave, but no child of the 1980s will be surprised to see Mariah Carey's sublime All I Want For Christmas Is You bounding up the charts after being named the nation's top festive song."

In a 2006 retrospective look at Carey's career, Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker said, the "charming" song was one of Carey biggest accomplishments, calling it "one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon."

Dan Hancox, editor of The National, quoted and agreed with Jones' statement, calling the song "perfection." In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked "All I Want for Christmas Is You" 4th on its "Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs" list, calling it a "holiday standard."


Original Version

Chart (1994) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart 11
Dutch Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 14
Irish Singles Chart 3
Italian Singles Chart 1
Japanese Singles Chart 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 4
Swedish Singles Chart 17
Swiss Singles Chart 18
UK Singles Chart 2
Chart (1995) Peak
UK Singles Chart 8
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 6
US Billboard Pop Songs 9
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 12
Chart (1996) Peak
US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 27
Chart (2000) Peak
Japanese Singles Chart 43
US Billboard Hot 100 83
Chart (2007) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 32
Danish Singles Chart 6
European Singles Chart 9
Irish Singles Chart 8
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Swedish Singles Chart 8
UK Singles Chart 4
Chart (2008) Peak
Danish Singles Chart 4
Irish Singles Chart 17
Italian Singles Chart 16
Norwegian Singles Chart 3
Swedish Singles Chart 12
UK Singles Chart 12
US Billboard Holiday Songs 1
Chart (2009) Peak
Belgium Back Catalog Singles Chart (Flanders) 1
Belgium Back Catalog Singles Chart (Wallonia) 1
Danish Singles Chart 12
Finnish Singles Chart 12
Irish Singles Chart 18
Italian Singles Chart 4
Norwegian Singles Chart 6
Portugal (Billboard) 1
Scottish Singles Chart 20
Spanish Singles Chart 13
Swedish Singles Chart 10
UK Singles Chart 19
US Billboard Hot Singles Sales 62
Chart (2010) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 22
Danish Singles Chart 11
Dutch Singles Chart 19
Irish Singles Chart 16
Italy Singles Chart 6
Japan Hot 100 6
Norwegian Singles Chart 3
Scottish Singles Chart 25
Spanish Singles Chart 12
Swedish Singles Chart 16
Swiss Singles Chart 45
UK Singles Chart 22
US Billboard Holiday Songs 1
Chart (2011) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 17
Danish Singles Chart 17
Dutch Singles Chart 21
German Singles Chart 24
Irish Singles Chart 12
Italy Singles Chart 5
Japan Hot 100 19
Scottish Singles Chart 11
Spanish Singles Chart 4
Swedish Singles Chart 7
Swiss Singles Chart 38
UK Singles Chart 11
US Billboard Holiday Songs 1
Welsh Singles Chart 12

Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber version

Chart (2011) Peak
Japan Hot 100 19
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 86
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 3
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 100
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