Kem followers probably know to approach What Christmas Means without the expectation of hearing a thunderous version of "Little Drummer Boy" or collaborations with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Sure enough, the singer and songwriter's first Christmas album is filled with the same relaxed, romantic, spiritual, and gently uplifting moods of his studio albums. He didn't make this on autopilot, either. Among the ten songs, there are five originals, including the opening "Glorify the King" (on which he is backed by a Detroit gospel choir), the closing "Doo Wop Christmas" (a light a cappella number), and "Be Mine for Christmas" (a duet with Ledisi that cleverly incorporates "Me and Mrs. Jones"). The renditions of well-known songs, from "Christmas Time Is Here" to "We Three Kings," have the same secular-to-spiritual range. Kem fans who celebrate Christmas will likely value this disc as a seasonal staple for years to come.
What Christmas Means Review
by Andy Kellman