Christmas Music, 2018
I’m not going to lie: god put John Legend in this world to make sure that people continue to make babies. If he ever loses his voice, the global birth rate will plunge by a significant percentage. We only get such a gift from above once every few decades, and this fellow has a voice that can melt everyone’s chocolate, oh yes. Well, there is that hideous remake of Beauty and the Beast, but then again, we all have our off days.
So, A Legendary Christmas. Well, his voice still sounds good, and the tunes here are a lovely, mellow bland of jazz and blues given a more contemporary R&B smooth-over. In other words, it’s just like every other freaking Christmas cash-in album out there. There are some guest artists here, from Stevie Wonder (What Christmas Means to Me) to Esperanza Spalding (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas) and it’s all good. This is a fine album that can be played in the background of any department store – it’s safe, inoffensive, and pleasant on the ears.
But come on, if I want pleasant, I can go to anyone else for a musical tune-up. I listen to John Legend for some sultry blues that get people in the mood, and here, it’s all “Let’s bop your head to this as you do your last-minute shopping in the department store!” kind of sanitized G-rated stuff. When he’s singing about how he’s been good all year so he’d really like a present in Bring Me Love, alas, it sounds like he really means the present of a cardboard box type and not the other kind of box, sigh. When he wants to kiss me under the mistletoe in Merry Christmas Baby/Give Love on Christmas Day, it’s not the “I’ll pucker up and drop my dress at the same time!” kind of kiss, it’s the “Alright, do it quick since everyone is expecting us to and damn it, I just want to get past that door and out of this place!” type.
I like A Legendary Christmas, but I wish I can love it more. This is the album that plays in the background when one is in a pub, hoping to meet a nice guy. Once that guy is found, it’s time to take this one off the player and play something a little more grown-up.