HO HO WHO: Jessie J, a singer/songwriter constantly on the outskirts of actual pop stardom, best known for the song “Bang Bang,” performing at the 2011 VMAs with a broken foot, and having the audacity to compare herself to Aretha Franklin. Jessi, who should not be confused with Juicy J, is mostly identifiable as the pop star with the fewest identifying features. Boyz II Men, who you probably remember from when they swore up and down to make love to you, supply the harmonies on this yuletide tune.
J BELLS RING: Jessie J has gifted us all a Christmas album, and you can tell it’s a gift because she’s wearing one of those bows they put on new Subarus in the album art. This Christmas Day mostly revolves around jazzy covers of the usual suspects, with a confusing dash of ’90s R&B thrown in. “Winter Wonderland” is the prime example of this, as Jessie J starts off in pretty standard fashion over strings and tinkly piano while the Boyz provide some doo-wop harmonies. Then the track takes a turn as Jessie J throws in some tepid vocal runs and unnecessary lyric repetitions, and Boyz II Men revert to their signature slow-jam style.
BANG BANG INTO THE RUDOLPH: Boyz II Men (who I really hoped would be calling themselves Men II Boyz at this stage in their careers, but I digress) give it their all on backing vocals, but since the song can’t figure out what genre it wants to be, it never quite works. And despite having a perfectly fine voice, Jessie J’s vocals don’t meld with her guest stars, nor does she do anything distinctive to help you remember who the hell she is. You could lie and tell someone this album was released by Fergie as part of her current attempt to rebrand herself as a lounge singer, and everyone would believe you.
CHEER FACTOR: 6/10. I tend to enjoy both Jessie J and late-career Boyz II Men, when I remember they exist, but sadly this mismatched musical pairing never quite makes it past “fine.”