Why did Justin Bieber make the Christmas album ‘Under The Mistletoe’?  A simple cost/benefit analysis — few original lyrics required, he only has a few Christmases left that he can get away with this and it is going to make him a lot of money.

Grade: Ability to make money A
Anyone over 16 wanting to listen C-

The album isn’t any better or any worse than you’re picturing in your mind.  Like anything Bieber does – aside from possibly impregnanting groupies – Tweenage girls are going to love it.  A younger and mostly female is crowd is going to eat up the slower tunes with ‘Love’ and or ‘Christmas’ in the title.  Most of these sound like Johnathon Taylor Thomas in The Lion King trying to pull off a Justin Timberlake track. Mostly unmemorable — is this a bad thing? — but nothing totally horrendous for those who don’t already find Bieber’s non-holiday music horrendous.

Those looking to legitimize the Biebs are going to point to the serious guests - Brian McKnight, Usher, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Busta Rhymes as well as some established hit-making writers and producers.  I think the last thing by Boyz II Men that I bought was their Christmas album–nonetheless they sound excellent here, momentarily stealing Bieber’s spotlight.  Aziz Ansari certainly seems to like ‘Little Drummer Boy’ featuring Busta. Bus-a-Bus seems almost like an apologist mentioning Twitter twice in one verse — self rationalizing in his head, I’m still hood but c’mon this kid’s got 12 million Twitter followers, yo!

The strangest point on the album comes on the remake of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ with Mariah Carey sounding exactly like she did when she sang it the first time in 1994.  Girls of all ages still lose their shit when the original comes on. Bieber guesting on a Mariah song doesn’t bring the heat that ODB did and at least Puffy would have changed the beat before calling it a remix.

This is going to make Bieber a lot of money.  ‘Drummer Boy’ is a hint of what he’s going to try to do next–rap.  A couple songs will be played on the radio for the next year or two during Christmas but none of these are going to become holiday standards ala Mariah, U2, Springsteen, etc. I hope JB buys something nice for Selena.

 phew, really glad I scrubbed my Facebook spotify feed before anyone noticed I streamed this whole album this morning…

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