A LaFace Family Christmas

Track Listing

Number Title Lyrics Stream Video
1A Few Good Men - Silver BellslyricsN/Avideo
2Toni Braxton - The Christmas SonglyricsN/AN/A
3TLC - Sleigh RidelyricsN/Avideo
4OutKast - Player's BalllyricsN/Avideo
5Usher - Interlude: Joy All DaylyricsN/AN/A
6McArthur - Have Yourself A Merry Little ChristmasN/AN/AN/A
7TLC - All I Want For ChristmaslyricsN/AN/A
8Usher - This ChristmasN/AN/AN/A
9A Few Good Men - Merry Christmas My DearN/AN/AN/A
10A Few Good Men - Interlude: Christmas Is HerelyricsN/AN/A

The LaFace Family Christmas album doesn't live up to its talented roster

LaFace featured an impressive line up of talented R&B artists. Backed by the talented forces of Babyface and LA Reid, the label was a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps as an effort to show off their talented line-up, the label released a Christmas album in 1993 featuring a variety of their talented acts.

Iterating through the songs and their performers:

A Few Good Men - Silver Bells

A Few Good Men kick off the album and close it as well. Given the wealth of talent at LaFace, it's a bit surprising to see these guys get so much presence on the album. However, given we only ever got to enjoy one album from them, it is great to get the chance to enjoy more of their music. Overall, this is a very traditional rendition of the song. The guys sing it well with good harmonies but it's nothing particularly exciting.

Toni Braxton - The Christmas Song

When they decided to do this album, I wouldn't be shocked if this track was why. Toni Braxton's able to run laps around this song, giving such a sultry performance. It's actually interesting to listen to her delivery as she does a few things I'm not used to seeing from her. She jumps up to a few high notes early on, which sound good and something I wish we'd seen more from her throughout her career. Probably the best track on the album.

TLC - Sleigh Ride

The other real treat of the album, TLC's Sleigh Ride is such a fun song. It matches up to the grouop's style so well with its snarky lyrics and fast tempo. It's a catchy alternative Christmas song that you'll find yourself bobbing your head to.

Outkast - Player's Ball

It's unclear to me how this song fits on the album. It doesn't sound like a Christmas song or seem to reference Christmas in any way. I'm find putting Outkast on the album but uh, I'm not sure if this was the best way to do it.

Usher Interlude: Joy All Day

Short interlude by Usher

McArthur - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I wasn't familiar with McArthur so I looked it up. There's only this track credited to McArthur, but it's Melvin Gentry of Midnight Star. He's definitely the odd one out on this album as his solo career didn't seem to materialize. Still, he does a fine job here performing a traditional, classic style song. It's an enjoyable listen if not particularly adventurous.

Tlc - All I Want for Christmas

To think if they had only thought to add the word You to the title they could have beat Mariah Carey to the punch and created the next big Christmas song. Instead, they made a fairly bland, track that is largely forgettable. It doesn't take advantage of TLC's unique style like Sleigh Ride does and instead ends up just being alright.

Usher - This Christmas

A performance by a very young Usher, This Christmas plays very close to the typical sound for this song. As a result, it's fun and catchy. However, vocally it's definitely a mediocre song. Listening here, it's amazing to think how big Usher would go on to be.

A Few Good Men - Merry Christmas My Dear

This track probably runs a bit too long. The verses are good and the Men put some emotion into it. However, the chorus just gets a bit too boring sounding. The lines in it are fine but the tempo is so slow that it sucks the wind out of its sails and just makes it feel off. An okay song, but a weak way to end a Christmas album.

A Few Good Men - Interlude: Christmas Is Here

Short send off by A Few Good Men, not much to say about it.

Overall, this album leaves a lot to be desired. I expected something more exciting and original when it featured the production teams of LaFace and their pool of talented artists. Instead, most of the tracks just aren't that exciting and feel like they could be one of the hundred different takes on the songs that already exist.

Best tracks: TLC - Sleigh Ride, Toni Braxton - The Christmas Song

tl;dr: Taking the talents of the entire LaFace label, the LaFace Family Christmas album plays it disappointingly safe. A mixture of traditional tracks and forgettable originals, there just isn't enough quality here to make this album worth buying.