Ninni’s “White Christmas” is a stylish, modern take on the classic Irving Berlin Christmas tune. Best known as being sung by Bing Crosby, anyone who takes on this song has some pretty big shoes to fill. Clearly, this Italian/English songwriter with a background in disco and punk is not afraid to take on that challenge – and props to him for doing so.
The first thing that struck me about Ninni’s version was the decidedly old-school stylistic choice of panning the vocals hard to the right and the instrumental mostly to the left. Although this isn’t much of an issue for casual listening on speakers, maybe a tad bit jarring when listening through headphones – particularly in the modern day, when conventional wisdom says to put the vocals in the center so both ears can hear them.
Panning choices aside, the piece is fairly well executed, especially the instrumental arrangement. Featuring synthesizers, an organ, and a clean, thumpy drum pattern playing what appears to be a modified dembow rhythm (the classic reggaeton beat), it definitely shows off Ninni’s production chops. It’s clean, it’s well-balanced, and honestly – listening to that side of the mix alone, without the vocals – it’s kind of a bop.
Ninni’s vocals are earnest and reassuring in the tone of their delivery, but definitely mixed a little too quietly, particularly given that they occupy the bulk of one whole side of the stereo mix. This is, as I mentioned earlier, a bit disorienting. I can only imagine that Ninni did this as an homage to the early days of stereo when panning like that was the norm, which is a respectable move, but would definitely hurt this song’s appeal in the modern market.
Ninni’s “White Christmas” would fit perfectly well on a holiday playlist playing in the background at a party, which is – of course – what any Christmas standard is really for. And in that regard, this rendition of “White Christmas” is doing what it needs to do. That being said, I am curious about Ninni’s disco and punk roots and would love to have something come across my desk that reflects those influences. That sounds like a fun combination.
Overall, I’d say Ninni has made a curious decision both covering such a classic Christmas song and doing it in the way he has, but it’s been done well for the most part. Would I prefer to hear it mixed in a more standard, modern, way? Yes. Does it really matter if it’s just playing on the speakers at a holiday party? No. Does this belong on a holiday playlist? Yeah, why not!
Listen to "White Christmas" on Spotify here -
You can follow Ninni’s musical journey on Instagram :
A brilliant addition to the repertoire -