Saturday, December 17, 2016

Domerberry Album Review: The Bieber Christmas CD

If you know anything about me, you know that I have a deep and abiding love for one Mr. Justin Bieber. If you know lots of things about me, then you may be aware that one thing and only one thing plays on my car stereo during the Christmas season, and that thing is Justin Bieber's flawless 2011 holiday album, Under the Mistletoe. 

From whenever I remember the album exists until somewhere in the week after Christmas, the other four slots of my 5-CD changer are ignored — sorry, A*Teens and discs one and two of Hamilton — and my little black two-door becomes a 24/7 rolling homage to the Christmas tunes of the Biebs.

You may have been vaguely aware that a Bieber Christmas album existed, but have you ever really given it a listen? With Christmas barely a week away, now is the perfect time to explore this pop music masterpiece — and, being the benevolent servant leader that I am, I thought I'd take this opportunity to prepare you for this special musical journey.

Without further ado, enjoy this tour of the highlights of holiday music's magnum opus.

Mistletoe: Though confusingly not quite the title number of this album, this number is Under the Mistletoe's spiritual center. Have you forgotten how insane Beliebers went for the video for this song? Let me remind you. This video has everything. 17-year-old Justin at his middle-aged lesbian-resembling peak. Not one but two pairs of fingerless gloves. Subtle product placement for Justin's "Someday" eau de parfum. A Christmas card to his love interest that he signs with his first and last name. That this video only has 258 million views is a tragedy.

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire): This is a duet with Usher. What else do you even need to know? Forget the street-food vendors; chestnuts can find all the roasting they need in front of a speaker spitting the rifftastic fire of this smooth Christmas jam.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town: If I ever get into a snow- or ice-related fender bender, assume it is because I was too busy bopping to this song to pay attention to road conditions. You are soulless if this song doesn't make you tap your elfin-shod toes.

All I Want for Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!) Duet with Mariah Carey: First of all, yes, friends, that is the full title of this song. SuperFestive indeed.

Secondly, this song is sacred and it is an affront to all things yuletide that Justin Bieber was allowed to appropriate it for this album. No further commentary.

Drummer Boy: Have you ever wanted to have a teen bad boy with a DUI conviction and a 90s star with multiple assault collars rap at you about giving to charity? If so, you're in luck! Cut to the three-minute mark to hear to Justin's philanthropy tirade, or listen to the whole song to catch the other two lyric nuances I want to point out in this unfortunately catchy number.

First, note that, as with our president-elect's hands, there's nothing "little" about this drummer boy. In Bieber's world, the dude who showed up with nothing but a snare solo for the Virgin Mother and newborn Christ was not a "little drummer boy" but just a regular drummer boy. Spring for some myrrh next time, "adult."

Second, just bask in the glory for a second of the following line, which ends Busta Rhymes' guest verse:

"People everywhere ****and all our Twitter followers****, Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Happy Hannukah!"

Italics and incredulous asterisks mine. Lack of Kwanzaa adjective Busta's.

Christmas Eve: This song is the sexy Nativity R&B slow jam sung by an underage Canadian teen you didn't know you needed.

Home This Christmas: I noticed something about this song this year. Justin was 17 when this song came out and sounds it — or younger, depending how generous you're feeling. The chick from the Band Perry, who sings the girl's part of the duet, was 28 and sounds 40. When the track started playing, I thought, "Oh, this is a mother-son home for the holidays thing. Cute!"

Then they launched into the chorus, which begins with, "I'll be waiting under the mistletoe."


Eh, maybe it's just to keep with the mistletoe motif?, I wondered. They continued.

"When the only gift that I really need is to have your arms wrapped around me."

...They could be hugging. The bridge begins.

"I'm praying that you make it home tonight / So we can lay down by the fireside / You and I, til Christmas morning."


Honestly, the most disconcerting part is not that they have a woman 11 years Justin's senior playing his love interest — get down witcha cougar self, girl — it's that they take two and a half minutes to make it clear she's not his mom! If you're gonna write a love song duet for an alto-singing teen boy, maybe don't kick it off with an emphysemic country singer waiting by the window hoping her young male duet partner drives safely! This song is 2009 Folgers commercial levels of creepy guy-girl Christmas relations. Darn it for still being catchy.

Silent Night: Justin Bieber would like you to know that he knows Christmas is about Jesus. He's also edgy because he makes changes like "vir-gi-i-in" rather than "vi-ir-gi-in." But mostly he's Christian. Thanks, Justin!


Okay, so yes, Under the Mistletoe does have a deluxe edition with some bonus tracks, but I don't know them (meaning they don't matter) and they are not what I am referring to.

What I am referring to is Celine Dion's cover of Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson's "Winter Song." If you're looking for more grade-A Canadian seasonal music — or even if you're not — you need this number in your life.

There's no joke here. Seriously. Just go listen to it, because it's brand new and not enough people know about its life-changing powers. Have a Celine moment. Your pre-holiday stress will melt away.

In the meantime, I'll be sitting in my apartment dreading the hour I'll have to spend in the morning shoveling dozens of cubic feet of snow off my car before I can get back to my natural December state of listening to Under the Mistletoe in the front seat of my Focus. Merry Christmas, adjective-less Kwanzaa, and Happy Hannukah, all my Twitter followers!

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