Sometimes, during the Christmas season, it’s hard to understand the intricacies of the holidays through the chaos of the family dynamics, the cooking, and the presents. However, with the festive period in the rearview mirror, we can see it more clearly. Christmas feels like it intensifies all emotions, positive and negative.
We build it up with so many expectations that sometimes it’s difficult for the holiday season to live up to them. Christmas From Afar, by Hazel Ray, explores that idea through the concept of spending the holiday season alone.
The track is full of emotion, led by her fantastic vocal performance. The delivery exudes character. The vocals define the melody and interact with the other musical components beautifully. Their interplay is one of the aspects that makes the emotions of the track so profound.
The lyrics have a train-of-thought quality to them. They feel frank, starkly confronting the emotions at the thematic core by directly talking about wanting to cry and the people the speaker misses at Christmas. The sense of isolation, acknowledged by the track, is strangely universal at this time of year. Through the lyrics, the song reaches out to other people struggling during the holiday season. This mix of unity and loneliness gives the track a sad yet hopeful energy that is unique and, more importantly, true to itself. There is a clear emotional connection between the vocals and the lyrics that deepens the meaning behind the track and immerses you further into it as a listener.
The instrumental mixes a traditional Christmas timbre with an extra layer of subtlety through the gentle piano playing. The track has a lot of space in the mix. This choice feels thematically relevant, leaving you, as the listener, without instrumentation much as the speaker is without connections at Christmas. The loneliness becomes part of the instrumental.
The mix of this sonic cohesion with the delivery makes this a Christmas anthem that perfectly encapsulates the other side of the holidays.