Release Date: Nov 1, 2011
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Holiday, Pop/Rock, Teen Pop, Contemporary R&B, Holidays
Credit to Justin Bieber for the effort he put into Under the Mistletoe. Most artists sleepwalk through Christmas albums, but Bieber took this release so seriously that he co-wrote nine of its 15 songs and was motivated to tweet, “forget the hype...i want it to be about the music. listen to the cd. then judge me.” Bieber definitely sounds more enthused by the original songs -- some of which resemble everyday numbers with patched-on seasonal references -- and a cover of Mariah Carey's “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (featuring Carey herself).
The Biebs’ gentle set of gentile carols on Under the Mistletoe isn’t coal-lump bad; it’s more like a dorky sweater from Nana with a 20 in the pocket. Two originals, ”Mistletoe” and ”Only Thing I Ever Get for Christmas,” are sleigh-ride-smooth R&B jangles, but the classics bring no cheer — worst is the rap-wrapped ”Drummer Boy,” on which Bieber spits some of the looniest white-boy rhymes off the shores of Lonely Island: ”I’m so tight I might go psycho/Christmas time, so here’s a recital.” C+ Download These:Tinsel-light MistletoeBoyz II Men collab Fa La La .
Under the Mistletoe offers the Biebertron in holiday mode, piping his way through 11 standards and originals with the help of half a dozen famous buddies, whose performances generally outclass his by quite a stretch. The guests are the album's saving grace. Only half the tracks feature Bieber on his own – of these, the acoustic Silent Night is most likely to have Beliebers swooning – and they pale next to Fa La La, with its twinkling Boyz II Men harmonies, and his duet with Mariah Carey.
Too often holiday music is about comfort: familiar melodies, familiar sentiments, familiar styles. And for some that may well be enough: never underestimate the power of the reliable. But so much great music comes from artists who understand that the holiday season is just another topic — it can ….