EXO’s Lay Zhang Spreads Holiday Cheer on ‘When It’s Christmas’ (LISTEN)
You know this is a Christmas song set in 2018 when Lay Zhang’s opening line is, “It’s been a long year.”
Released on Christmas Eve, the EXO star’s new single, “When It’s Christmas,” seeks to transform holiday drear into a chilled out version of merrymaking. Christmas is just that much more magical because it can heal your year-round woes.
Lay sets the aural scene with the ASMR-adjacent sounds of a crackling fireplace. (This is a mid-tempo jam about the holidays, after all.)
The first verse starts off like a ballad in its somber sparsity, but then whooshes into a (relatively) upbeat chorus. The piano-based song also throws in a bit of nostalgia as Lay whistles an interpolation of the wintertime classic, “Jingle Bells.”
Lay co-composed the song alongside Pink Slip (who worked on NAMANANA), Blanda, Anthony Russo and Grammy-nominated DJ White Shadow. The latter is a frequent collaborator with Lady Gaga, and he previously worked with K-pop extraordinaire CL on “No Better Feelin.”
Although “When It’s Christmas” touches on the “ups and downs” of life, 2018 has been full of record-breaking highs for Lay. This English-language single follows his U.S. debut with bilingual album NAMANANA, which made him the highest-charting Mandopop star on the Billboard 200 last month. The global superstar’s album also reportedly reached No. 1 on iTunes across 16 countries while topping Billboard’s World Albums chart.
Lay is no stranger to Christmas music. His K-pop group, EXO, has an extensive collection of holiday songs that can be traced back to 2013’s “Miracles in December.” Last year, he also released an English version of his self-composed solo track, “Goodbye Christmas.”
Listen to Lay Zhang's "When It's Christmas," below: