It's 16 years since Mariah Carey's first Christmas album, and there's nothing here to suggest she's developed significantly since then.
Indeed, the addition of an "Extra Festive" mix of that album's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" rather shames the newer material, little of which challenges it for sheer exuberance. The best new tracks are those helmed by Jermaine Dupri, the skipping-song-style single "Oh Santa!" and a "Here Comes Santa Claus". Elsewhere, ill-fitting carols are clumsily medleyfied together, lush strings swamp breathy balladry, and a children's choir gives "One Child" a Jackson-esque glutinous quality. But none of this prepares one for Mariah's duet with her opera-singing mom on a mis-matched medley of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hallelujah Chorus": make it stop, someone!
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