Wed | Dec 19, 2018

Have yourself 'A Legendary Christmas'

Published:Wednesday | November 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM

If anyone needs a model for how to put out a successful Christmas album, look no further than everyone's latest EGOT winner John Legend.

On the modestly titled A Legendary Christmas, the singer mixes old chestnuts and new tunes, switches tempos from jazz to blues, and adds a few perfectly cast cameos. (Only Legend could get Stevie Wonder to play a little harmonica work on What Christmas Means to Me).

Legend teams up with veteran producer Raphael Saadiq for new takes on classics, including an up-tempo Silver Bells and a lush Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, with guest Esperanza Spalding. Christmas Time Is Here gets the lounge treatment and he's nicely unearthed Marvin Gaye's Purple Snowflakes.

Legend shows off his own songwriting with the delicious throwback, No Place Like Home, and co-writes the bustling Bring Me Love with Meghan Trainor. Waiting for Christmas is classic piano Legend, Wrap Me Up in Your Love is a smoky R&B standout, and By Christmas Eve a promise to get home, like an update on Brenda Russell's Get Here is simply sublime.

The album's cover features Legend in a Santa hat and bow tie, emulating one of Bing Crosby's iconic Christmas albums. Bold move, Mr Legend but earned. This Christmas album is an instant classic.

AP