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Album Review | HOLIDAY

Cee Lo Green, ‘Cee Lo’s Magic Moment’

If there’s anyone equipped to tackle the diversity covered by the modern Christmas-music canon, it’s Cee Lo Green. Reflecting his omnivorous and eclectic musical palate, “Cee Lo’s Magic Moment” runs the gamut: religious songs both classic and contemporary, expressions of warmhearted longing and intense sadness, material with origins in Muppetry and cartoons. It’s hard to resist the Jackie Wilson-meets-Phil Spector bounce the singer puts into “What Christmas Means to Me,” and a Spectorian whoomp buoys terrific versions of “White Christmas” (he’s practically beaming throughout) and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” But he also nestles deep into the despondent heart of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” Green's own “All I Need Is Love” is doomed to date poorly (two words: Muppet rap) and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” belongs more to Christina Aguilera (which speaks to his generosity and her Christina-ness), but “Magic Moment” easily meets the primary requirement of any Christmas album, which is that it’s a worthwhile addition to his fans’ collections. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “River”

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