There aren't many full-effort, front-to-back brilliant Christmas albums, but CeeLo's Magic Moment is one of them. Released ahead of a televised holiday special -- what Mr. Green hoped would be the first of an annual occurrence -- it covers all the bases. Sure, many over-familiar songs are interpreted for the umpteenth time. Who needs more "White Christmas," "Silent Night," and "Run Rudolph Run," right? However, there's so much joyous energy in the performances that one wouldn't be surprised to learn that Green has been plotting this move since Goodie Mob signed to LaFace. Green and company also tackle later material, crossing the '70s (Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas"), '80s ("Mary, Did You Know," popularized by Katty Mattea), and '90s (Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas"). The most natural fit is a rendition of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" that features a cappella group Straight No Chaser. At the other end, Green pulls off Joni Mitchell's somber "River" in convincing fashion. The overriding spirit is festive, exemplified by "All I Need Is Love," a rollicking blast that incorporates the Muppets and their "Mah Na Mah Na." Rod Stewart, Trombone Shorty, and Green's fellow Voice coach Christina Aguilera are also in on the fun. This is Christmas music that can be enjoyed by those who otherwise loathe it.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman