When we heard that Justin Bieber would be recording a charity Christmas album, we thought nothing of it, because so many other artists have done the same before him—a trend that we do not expect will die out anytime soon. But when his manager Scooter Braun tweeted yesterday evening that the album was not only completed, but also comprised entirely of original songs, we sat up and took notice.
Original Christmas music has always been a single-driven endeavor, and the vast majority of the canon of non-carol Christmas music was written, and first recorded, in the pre-Beatles era (for lack of a better descriptor). We honestly can’t think of any major single-artist Christmas albums. (In fact, we can think of only three albums that even come close: Celine Dion‘s These Are Special Times, just under half of which was written for the release; Tori Amos‘s Midwinter Graces, which is one-half reworkings of carols and one-half originals; and the Quad City All-Star Christmas, which features holiday songs from all of the Miami bass groups that count producers C.C. Lemonhead and Jay Ski as members.) Partly due to the importance ascribed to the United Kingdom’s Christmas #1 songs, and partly because a deep investment in an album that is unlikely to sell well during three-quarters of the year is not necessarily shrewd, Christmas albums are usually label compilations, or full of covers of jazz standards and traditional songs, or EPs, or any combination of the above.
Is this, then, a disastrous move for Bieber? We doubt it. Various artist and producer tweets indicate that he recently co-wrote and recorded a song with Taylor Swift, and another with Sean Kingston, the latter produced by J.R. Rotem. If these are for the Christmas album, it’s likely to be a star-studded affair that will have both market and pop appeal. If they’re for a secular follow-up to his two-part My World debut, then Bieber is already gearing up for what will follow the holiday release. Even still, an all-original Christmas album is an extremely bold move that will cement Bieber as an adult performer with genuine pop appeal if it succeeds, but could set his attempts at pop crossover way back if it doesn’t. Either way, we’re curious.
[Image: Getty Images. Santa hat courtesy Lauren Deiman]