Pop & Circumstance: Justin Bieber’s “Under the Mistletoe” and 10 more hit-or-miss Christmas albumsBy Allison Berger | November 24th, 2011 | No Comments »
A billion Bielibers will undoubtedly be wishing to stand under the mistletoe with their holiday hunny Justin Bieber during the coming Christmas season. Bieber, who released his second studio album “Under the Mistletoe” on Tuesday, has created a decidedly ridiculous theme for the record: “pop-tastically sacrilegious.”
A sample lyric from “Drummer Boy:”
“Playin’ for the king, playin for the title/ I’m surprised you didn’t hear this in the Bible/I’m so tight, I might go psycho/ Christmas time so here’s a recital.”
The album, which is stocking-full of smooth Bieber beats and features artists like the Band Perry, Usher, Busta Rhymes, Boyz II Men, and yes, seasoned X-mas favorite Mariah Carey, covers more genres than a “Glee” compilation.
So, in honor of Biebs’ latest exploit, here’s a look at some of the best and worst Christmas albums of the past decade or so:
Mariah Carey, “Merry Christmas”
Alright, so this one is actually from 1994 (nearly 20 years ago!) but I’d have to say it’s probably the only Christmas radio single that doesn’t make you want to vomit after the 706th replay per holiday season. The album, simply titled “Merry Christmas,” does just that — it wishes the listener well.
Destiny’s Child, “8 Days of Christmas”
This album was released in 2001, when Destiny’s Child was in its three-part phase before the break-up. Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle called the record “8 Days,” which may or may not have been an attempt to include competing holidays like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
NSYNC, “Home For Christmas”
“Home for Christmas” hit the shelves in the fall of 1998, right at the beginning of NSYNC’s rise to the top. Though their big hit “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” sounds like it belongs in a Kohl’s commercial, it’s definitely the best original track off the record. Check out the Gary Coleman cameo in the video. It’s so cute, they’re feeding the homeless and holding babies. Hilariously enough, the second top-rated comment on YouTube is: “WAY BETTER than Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe.” ”
Glee, “The Music: The Christmas Album”
This soundtrack came out just last year, feeding the millions of Gleeks around the world a healthy dose of cheesy arrangements accompanied by beautiful vocals. Everyone knows Lea Michele and Darren Criss can sing, but why do they have to put their voices against those awful, over-produced instrumentals? Here’s a clip from “Glee’s” Christmas episode that made the record.
Hanson, “Snowed In”
Though I never owned “Snowed In,” I will admit that Hanson is a guilty pleasure of mine. The boys may have gotten a bad rap in the late ’90s for their overly obsessed fangirls, but these brothers really do have talent. This video was recorded a decade after the song was released. Look at what good spirits they’re in!
David Archuleta, “Christmas From The Heart”
This is one of the more classic Christmas albums released by mega-pop stars in recent years. Though Archuleta didn’t make it too far on any charts, this ex-”American Idol” contestant joins forces with Charice (who also appeared on “Glee”) for a beautiful rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
Clay Aiken, “Merry Christmas With Love”
Another “Idol” runner up shows off his singing skills in “O Holy Night,” from his second studio album, “Merry Christmas With Love.” You might giggle. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Hilary Duff, “Santa Claus Lane”
Man … 2002. If you’ve read my previous columns, you know I have this undeniable love for the Duff. While this song is just as cheesy as NSYNC’s, I still think it screams “Christmas” better than Biebs’ new single.
Taylor Swift, “Holiday Collection”
Swift’s “Holiday Collection” was released in 2007 and featured just six songs. “Last Christmas” is one of the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if she released another in the coming years.
Jessica Simpson, “Rejoyce: The Christmas Album”
In 2004, Jessica Simpson recorded “Rejoyce: The Christmas Album,” which featured duets with her then-husband, Nick Lachey and still-sister, Ashlee. Bring on the breathy-ness and holiday spray-tans.
Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.