Justin Bieber, Under the Mistletoe
Release Date: November 1
There's a certain kind of holiday purist who gets very upset (and usually vocal) when Christmas songs and decorations preempt a proper acknowledgment of Thanksgiving. These individuals are going to be particularly unhappy this year, because Halloween just got bumped, too. Bieber's Under the Mistletoe has hit the Internet, everyone! Christmas starts nooooowww!
So, which of the many famous-person duets will be the inescapable soundtrack for this coming holiday season? Vulture's early money is on "The Christmas Song (Chesnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," which reunites Biebz with best bro Usher for a totally pleasant R&B interpretation, and the Jackson 5–ified "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." (Wait for the "shake it, shake it, baby"–"ABC" breakdown; he goes there.) The "Superfestive!" remix of the Mariah Carey classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You" will also surely make the rounds, and Mariah enthusiasts will be relieved to know that Bieber has not altered the song in any way — he just sings over it, basically, like a karaoke track. Among the original songs, the Boyz II Men collaboration "Fa La La" is a standout, though sadly Biebz doesn't get in on the four-part harmonizing. Also notable, if slightly jarring: the Chris Brown–penned "Christmas Eve," which should fill your holiday-cookie-related sexytime slow-jam needs, if you have any.
And then, as promised, there is the Justin Bieber remake of "Little Drummer Boy" (now just "Drummer Boy," because Bieber is a grown-up, thank you), featuring Busta Rhymes. If you thought Biebs would leave the rapping to Busta on this one, then clearly you have not been following the burgeoning career of one Shawty Mane. Biebs takes two verses — the first is sort of a Nativity reenactment ("Playing for the king / playing for the title / I'm surprised you didn't' hear this in the Bible") and the second a dedication to the less fortunate. Busta drops in to share his eggnog recipe (dash of vanilla) and rhyme "followers" (as in Twitter) with "Hanukkah." Also featured: multiple key changes, a marching-band house beat, and "rum pa pum pum" flow. Please, just listen.
Merry Early Christmas!