Until the season to be jolly comes knocking on our doors, stars are shining bright on the Christmas album market. It seems that a new trend is in the air, that if you don’t release a holiday album at least once in your musical career, you’re not a complete crooner. It’s fair enough, especially for the label companies, but ticklish for the singer if the album is not failure-proof. Cee Lo Green the entertainer, the television personality we all know very well from the singing competition show “The Voice”, where he’s a judge, has taken the risks of goofing and missing his chance for holiday omniscience from now until the end of Christmas by releasing Cee-Lo’s Magic Moment.
It’s true that nobody does soul as good as Cee Lo, but looking at the album’s cover one might think of something else than soul music and carols. Seeing a cartooned Cee Lo driving a red convertible pulled by white horses and surrounded by gifts and a reindeer, all in bright and intense colors, one might smile, thinking that the singer has pulled a prank on his fans, mocking the traditional Christmas carols. Well, as always, appearances can be deceiving. Though the Goodie Mob member wants to pass as a modern Santa, Cee-Lo’s Magic Moment is an album for those who still believe in Santa, who can feel in their guts the childish joy of the season, for those who are craving for new renditions of songs we’ve all heard thousands of times over and for those who consider Christmas a magic moment.
The album has 14 tracks, but we are only going to talk about the relevant ones. To make it crystal clear from the start, there are no bad or good songs on this album. There are amazing renditions and less amazing songs, but this doesn’t mean that Magic Moment isn’t a pleasure to listen to, because it is, especially if you like loud music. Cee Lo Green sometimes seems to forget that carols are supposed to be sung slowly as in whisper, so he screams a little. But hey, that’s his unique touch to an album that otherwise would have been dull. Let’s take “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” as an example. Cee Lo teamed with “The Voice” cohort Christina Aguilera on this powerful duet that turned a classic Christmas song into a less traditional track. Cee Lo starts the song with a low and sexy voice, but Aguilera is practically yelling at him.
However, if you want to get into that holiday mood, it’s enough to listen “This Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” and “White Christmas,” which will enchant your ears with their consonants and midtempo bops, as well as the heavy Christian mojo of “Mary, Did You Know?” that’s impossible to dislike, even if you’re not Christian and you don’t believe in Virgin Mary. In other words, there is something here for everyone, even for the Muppets’ fans. America’s most adorable soul chameleon collaborated with the Muppets on his original, “All I Need Is Love”, crafting it after a sample of their beloved “Mahna Mahna”.
Cee Lo Green already dominates pop radio and television as a bomb of charisma, so his Magic Moment has all the chances to get on the radio soon. He adds soulful improvisations, he explores his lower and middle register and his voice sometimes threatens to overpower the song itself while the backing vocal choirs seem to have been ripped straight from the Tarzan soundtrack. But when you draw the line, all that’s left behind is the cheerful feeling of Christmas happiness.
Released October 29, 2012
Genre Christmas, pop, soul, funk
Label Warner Bros., Elektra
Producer Cee Lo Green, Fraser T Smith, The Smeezingtons