Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"For many artists a holiday album is an obligation, a rite of passage. For Justin Bieber it’s one more excuse to make hits, big ones. Certainly “Only Thing I Ever Get for Christmas,” the original song that opens “Under the Mistletoe,” Mr. Bieber’s first holiday album, feels like a modern standard. Over the light guitar soul that’s become Mr. Bieber’s quiet weapon, he’s in beautiful, fluid voice: “You’re the single item on my list / You’re my one and only Christmas wish.” Along with “Home This Christmas,” a duet with the rising country stars the Band Perry, this is the highlight of the album, which is far better thought out than it need be. It’s also a triumph for Kuk Harrell, who produced the vocals — Mr. Bieber hasn’t ever sounded this good. But even Mr. Harrell can’t place Mr. Bieber on equal footing with some of his more accomplished guests, like Usher, who sounds lovely on “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” or Mariah Carey, who on “All I Want for Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!)” leaves Mr. Bieber sounding like what he is, a teenager singing with one of his idols. Elsewhere there’s a superfluous “Silent Night,” a “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” rearranged over Jackson 5 samples, and an oddball “Drummer Boy” on which Busta Rhymes raps about exchanging Twitter messages with Mr. Bieber at the holiday dinner table, followed by Mr. Bieber rapping about poverty and charity. It’s all chaste stuff, though a holiday album is probably the safest context for Mr. Bieber to talk about pleasures of the flesh. “Wanna put my ear to your chest, girl,” he sings on “Fa La La.” And why’s that, Mr. Bieber? “Baby, I hear melodies when your heart beats.” What else did you think he was talking about? Shame on you." -The New York Times
Entertainment Weekly (p.73) - "Two originals, 'Mistletoe' and 'Only Thing I Ever Get for Christmas,' are sleigh-ride-smooth R&B jangles..."
Personnel: Deborah Mannis-Gardner.
Recording information: Avex Recording Studios, Honolulu, HI; Capitol Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA; Guardian Angel Studios, Bel Air, CA; Henson Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Jungle City; NH Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Platinum Sound Recording Studios, NY, NY; Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA; Sigma Sound, Philadelphia, PA; The Dugout, Los Angeles, CA; Triangle Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA; WEstlake Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Wolf Willow Sound, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Photographer: Kenneth Cappello.
Justin Bieber's first Christmas album is an all-star affair, including guest features for Mariah Carey (on her "All I Want for Christmas Is You"), Boyz II Men ("Fa La La"), Busta Rhymes ("Drummer Boy"), and Usher ("The Christmas Song"). Although it was originally slated by Bieber and producers Scooter Braun and Kuk Harrell to feature all originals, it does include a new song, "Mistletoe," as the first single.