Justin Bieber, 'Under the Mistletoe'
As a marketing tactic, a Christmas album from the Canadian teen idol is a brilliant maneuver—the kind of thing hundreds of thousands of parents will pick up at Best Buy as a stocking stuffer for their hard-to-please middle-schoolers. As an album, it’s OK—Bieber’s post-puberty voice is increasingly Auto-Tuned but still capable of hitting most of those tender high notes, and the song selections (“The Christmas Song,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Silent Night”) are predictable but right in his wheelhouse. The guest list was carefully assembled in that same marketing meeting: Mariah Carey, Usher, Busta Rhymes (trading rhymes with J-Bieb on the obligatory funked-up version of “Drummer Boy”), the Band Perry and Boyz II Men. The originals are mostly forgettable, if not outright derivative; Jason Mraz should get a check every time the "I'm Yours"-like “Mistletoe” gets another radio spin. But fans, needless to say, will savor every note. –AH
Official website: http://www.justinbiebermusic.com/