Review: Cee Lo Green’s Christmas album “Magic Moment” is surprisingly adequate

Ryan Morris

Editor’s note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Listeners looking for a funky kick-start to their Christmas spirit that think they might be in the market for Cee Lo Green’s “Magic Moment” should prepare for a surprisingly normal time.

After topping charts with upbeat songs full of expletives and transitioning to the role of judge on primetime reality show “The Voice,” it was obvious that the next logical step for Cee Lo Green was to put out a full-length solo Christmas album.

Despite what one might believe based on the cover of the album – which features Green in a fur coat sitting in a car being pulled by white horses – Cee Lo Green’s newly released Christmas album “Magic Moment” is just another pop-R&B version of the same songs we all get sick of by the end of December.

This is not to say that the album isn’t good—on the contrary, Green shows here more than ever his ability to play the role of radio-ready pop mastermind by singing what the people want. However, “Magic Moment” does noticeably lack a lot of the quirkiness and that funky retro edge that Green has become known for.

Instead, he trades his signature full and grainy voice for a more refined version on “Silent Night”, and in turn appears to be taking himself more seriously as an artist.

“Mary Did You Know” presents listeners with a somber, deeper-toned Green than audiences might be used to. However, this is immediately contrasted with much more bubbly standards like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a cutesy rendition of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” keeping the overall feel of the album as cheery as could be.

Featuring duets with Rod Stewart and Voice co-host Christina Aguilera, these classic covers are on the whole slightly jazzy and aptly well-sung tunes that one would not be surprised to hear playing in department stores. This album is a collection of family-friendly fun and danceable easy listening, if you’re into that.

That said, the one original track on the album absolutely fulfils the grand expectations that one might have of a Green—“All I Need is Love”, while only tangentially related to Christmas, features infectiously upbeat background music alongside the lyrical accompaniment of none other than the cast of the Muppets.

The song is a better-developed version of what one might find in a Saturday Night Live sketch poking fun at the otherwise “freaky” artist, and in this way the novelty value of the album is at least a little bit redeemed.

Overall, after the initial letdown that he is not portraying his usual cartoon-character self, Green does about as much with this Christmas album as anyone could, but at least he does it well.

Rating: Three out of four stars.

Story: LOVEY COOPER, A&E Reporter