Merry Christmas was released in 1994, and 16 years later Mariah Carey delivers a sequel, appropriately titled Merry Christmas II You and also featuring the diva in a sexy little Santa suit. The similarities don’t end there, either: Mariah revives her original seasonal tune “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and often touches upon the classy, clean updated traditional vibe of her readings from the 1994 set. Underneath this surface, Merry Christmas II You has a different vibe than its predecessor, derived in large part from the numerous originals here. Five of the 12 full songs bear a Carey writing credit (including that revival of “All I Want for Christmas Is You”) and these new tunes sometimes give Merry Christmas II You a lively modern feel, particularly the jumping Jermaine Dupri/Bryan-Michael Cox co-written opener “Oh Santa!” and the slow groove of “When Christmas Comes,” highlights that balance the too saccharine sentiment of “Christmas Time Is in the Air Again” and “One Child.” The range of these originals indicates the scope of the record as a whole, how it touches on a little of everything to please every kind of audience, mixing up “Auld Lang Syne” and a medley of Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas with traditional religious carols and secular favorites like “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Apart from that pair of stiff originals, the whole thing is cheerful and engaging, a worthy sequel to its predecessor.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine