CD: Cee Lo Green - Cee Lo's Magic Moment | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Cee Lo Green - Cee Lo's Magic Moment
Soul star teams up with the Muppets for a surprisingly spectacular Christmas
“I think the Muppets hit a new low.” “Yeah, and his first name’s Cee!” In the hierarchy of Statler and Waldorf’s cutting put-downs it’s more of a turkey than a Christmas cracker, but Cee Lo’s Magic Moment was never supposed to be subtle. The album’s cover art features the soul star, clad in a pink fur coat, playing Santa in a convertible Rolls Royce driven by reindeer and drawn by three white horses. If you peer closely enough, you’ll notice that among the gifts falling from the back of the car are copies of Cee Lo’s previous three albums.
That the star has chosen a bombastic pop number based on the Muppets’ famous “mah na mah na” refrain as the lead single for his Christmas album is hardly a surprise. And yet, as Christmas albums go, Cee Lo’s Magic Moment has more to recommend it than mere novelty. Green is possessed of a magnificently rich soul voice straight out of the 1950s, which makes it a perfect fit for the adeptly curated - if at times eccentric - collection of festive standards picked out for reworking. In his hands, Irving Berlin’s dreary “White Christmas” turns celebratory and “Please Come Home For Christmas” drops the plaintiveness to go full-on torch song. He manages to camp up, full-on pantomime villain style, on “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch”, on the same album as a lovely, reverent “Silent Night”. Even his cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” is perfectly serviceable, and I’m as huge a fan of the original as you are.
It’s not a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination: it’s hard not to make “Baby It’s Cold Outside” sound anything other than dubious, and the sheer length of Green’s duet with Christina Aguilera makes this a particularly creepy addition to the canon; and there are a couple of phoned-in performances on less than inspiring material like “The Christmas Song”. Regardless, this is one holiday album that could be worth a revisit next year: it’s been said many times, many ways, but never quite like this.
Take a listen to Cee Lo and the Muppets below
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
The ultimate re-re-wind for the Miami-fied UK garage behemoth
The glamorous fado star shines bright with songs from her new, upbeat album
Mike Oldfield's '70s classic. Performed live. With extra trombones
The Super Furries frontman releases a soundtrack that stands tall and on its own merits
Lavish package devoted to the three ‘Cathedral Oceans’ albums
First new work for four years is beautiful but nostalgic
The spirit of Pink Floyd lives on as the 'Rattle That Lock' tour comes home
Black Francis’s mob gets back into their stride with gusto
Can the Icelander's voice and chamber ensemble fill the Albert Hall?
An almanack of historical pleasures from the country songbook
Brit-American duo cross a continent digging into folk music's railroad mythology
The peacemaker of Fleetwood Mac on Mirage, Maui and missing the buzz