Self-made superstar, Bryson Tiller, is closing out the year with a bang. Tiller released his first holiday EP, “A Different Christmas,” on Nov. 19.
The EP contains a tracklist of seven songs filled with R&B, soulful and classic twists that encapsulate the common feeling of loneliness specifically during the holidays.
Joining Tiller’s vocals are Justin Bieber, Kiana Ledé, Poo Bear, Tayla Parx and his 8-year-old daughter, Harley.
The Kentucky native blew up after the release of his debut album, “TRAPSOUL,” in 2015 but soon disappeared from the spotlight. His music went unnoticed for years, but this time around, it’s different. This EP has created shock waves throughout the world.
Tiller starts off strong with “Be Mine This Christmas,” a song so catchy it will be playing all year long. It holds classic Tiller love song elements, yet it provides a cozy vibe for the holiday season.
“I thought you would be mine this Christmas / Ring, ring, ring, hear the bells ringing on the Christmas tree / Minnesota winter, snow is glistening, yeah / But I’ll be spending this one different / Checked the fireplace and your stocking’s missing / Hard to celebrate when you’re not here with me / I’m writing from a distance / So, I guess I’ll be alone this Christmas,” Tiller sings.
Thinking about spending the holidays alone while longing for a partner is always a dreadful feeling, and this song demonstrates this exactly.
Following up is a transition, “Cold December Interlude,” that adds a soothing touch. At the beginning of the interlude, one can hear the natural sound of the wind howling, which allows listeners to feel like they are truly in the cold winter of December.
The third track, “Presents,” featuring Ledé, has a lighthearted tone. The title “Presents” represents the idea of Tiller promising his “presence” for Christmas. It may be the most clever song of the whole album, as it is written like an exchange of text messages between the two artists.
“Baby, I’d love to get away just to spend the holiday with you / No better feeling than when I am home alone with you / Told you I’d be right back here in town, almost missed my flight / But I’m back here tonight / What’s on your mind?” Tiller sings.
Ledé then responds with her flirtatious vocals.
“I can’t wait to get alone and spend a moment with you / Ain’t no better feeling than being home alone with you / Ah, you know that there’s no way / I could get it through it, baby, there’s no way / Why do I feel this way? / I know you feel the same, now,” Ledé sings.
The lyrics flow in such a romantic yet tender manner all while maintaining R&B elements, something many artists cannot accomplish.
Shifting to a more joyful mood midway through the EP, Tiller goes fully a capella on the iconic “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” written by lyricist Kim Gannon and composed by Walter Kent.
Though some listeners may be disappointed due to the short duration compared to the original, Tiller’s powerful baritone vocals create a warm and gentle feeling.
“A Different Christmas” is truly the definition of different, and while all the songs are brilliant, there is an undeniably noteworthy track. “Winter Wonderland” is a classic Christmas song written by Felix Bernard and Richard Smith, but Tiller adds a little dash of sass with his daughter, Harley.
Together, they construct a beautiful and playful rendition of the classic. In fact, Harley outshines her father with her soft soprano vocals. One can’t help but smile from ear to ear after listening to this duet.
“A Different Christmas” is one of a kind, and if there’s one person that can create a holiday EP all while maintaining their personal touch, it’s Tiller.