Mini-Review: NSYNC – Home For Christmas

*NSYNC

Home For Christmas

Label: BMG / RCA / Trans Continental

Release Date: November 10th 1998 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Home For Christmas
  2. Under My Tree
  3. I Never Knew The Meaning Of Christmas
  4. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
  5. The Christmas Song
  6. I Guess It’s Christmas Time
  7. All I Want Is You This Christmas
  8. The First Noel
  9. In Love On Christmas
  10. It’s Christmas
  11. O Holy Night
  12. Love’s In Our Hearts On Christmas Day
  13. The Only Gift
  14. Kiss Me At Midnight

Initial thoughts: A boy band Christmas album? Yep, you read that right! This project by *NSYNC is probably one of the poppiest holiday albums I’ve ever heard- and though I myself haven;’t personally connected with the project as I would have liked (shows you how much I resonate with pop music and boy-band music period!), I am positive that the toe tapping, the head bobbing and the body moving will be the reactions to many around the world when they spin this iconic holiday album!

Reason to listen: If you love *NSYNC or wish they were back together. Seriously, more than half the material here is radio friendly original Christmas material- and there’s not that much of a Christmas-y vibe (moreso a 90’s pop vibe!)- so more times often than not you’re thinking that you’re just listening to a 90’s pop album (if you’re not listening clearly to the lyrics!) rather than a distinct and engaging Christmas album.

Reason to buy: I wouldn’t buy this album. It’s ok, but not that ground-breaking. Am I in the minority here? Maybe… but if you agree with me, then cherry picking on Spotify is the way to go!

Reason to skip: If you hate the overproduced pop on the radio now, and if you detest boybands, and if you loathe the 90’s music vibe. If the answer to all of those is yes, yes and yes; then holiday Christmas albums from either Blake Shelton or Train will resonate with you instead!

No. of carols: 4

No. of originals: 10

No of guest artists: None, but lead singers Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez do alternate between songs as the lead vocalist

Does it have heart?: Hard to tell. Delivery of boyband songs generally have always been captivating in the sense that they all vocally do a good job. But do they mean these songs that they’ve written? That’s the million dollar question, and one that I’m still unsure about even after listening to this album for the past day or so.

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: Sort of. On many songs, there is a strong Christmas atmosphere but at the same time, there’s a 90’s atmosphere that permeates through in the same song. And on other songs there’s just this 90’s atmosphere and no Christmas vibe… Confused yet?

Uniqueness?: Not really. This album isn’t that different from Avalon’s Joy or any Christmas album from Pentatonix. That’s what I would liken this project to if I’d liken this to anything… and the others are far superior to *NSYNC’s effort. Maybe I just don’t like boybands that much?

Christmas message: Is there a message here other than the cultural relationship family holiday message? Oh, I remember- there are 2 tracks (The First Noel, O Holy Night) which speak about Jesus. How could I forget? Yep, it’s because they’re buried underneath the relational family aspect of Christmas. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if the mainstream market is where your target audience is… but I’m just trying to say that the real Christmas message is lost here amongst the superfluous bells and whistles.

Closing thoughts: I’ve zoned out many times when listening to this album. Something just isn’t right here, and I can’t figure out what it is. How about I let you all listen to this project at least once (and then some more if it resonates with you!) while I dive into another Christmas album like Peace On Earth (Casting Crowns) or The Heart Of Christmas (Matthew West)?

3 songs to listen to: Home For Christmas, The Christmas Song, It’s Christmas

Overall rating: 2.5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: I personally wouldn’t. But you may have a different opinion and that’s ok.

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