Aside from the legions of teenage fans that follow their every move, Plus One, like most teen-targeted artists, doesn't get a lot of respect from "serious" listeners. No matter how far their talents may take them, they may never be able to escape the curse of the "teen pop" tag. Fans and non-fans remain defiantly split over the issue of Plus One's "artistic" merits.
Christmas, the boy-band's third recording, isn't likely to change any minds. But for what it's worth, it's not bad. Plus One's trademark harmonies and modern pop production highlight the ten-track collection of Christmas favorites old and new. Producers David Foster, Tedd T., Bernie Helms, and Matthew Gerard keep things suitably cheerful and holiday-ish, but with a few exceptions, it never goes over the top.
Too bad the group's vocals aren't as interesting as the production. Their harmonies have never been smoother or tighter, but they never go anywhere unexpected, never step outside of the prescribed boundaries of each melody. It's cookie-cutter singing to the point of tedium.
They fare better on the lively stuff, but the ballads are just too syrupy for their own good ("A Prayer For Every Year" is a perfect example of this). But as Christmas albums go, this one should easily fulfill the expectations of the group's fans.
Album cover courtesy of Atlantic Records.
By Robin Parrish