Fantasia | Christmas After Midnight

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fantasia | Christmas After Midnight
Concord Music
by Peggy Oliver

When it comes down to the annual barrage of holiday musical fare, music connoisseurs can be very fickle about their beloved artists singing Christmas set-in-stone standards. Sometimes the best intended orchestrations and re-constructions of hymns and pop pieces fails to elicit anything remarkable from past renditions. On this go round, Fantasia is the latest to record her favorite holiday treats, based on the joyful memories of Christmas experienced from her grandmother, whose birthday – by the way – happened to be on Christmas Day.

Fans and critics have gravitated to Fantasia’s gritty, heartfelt voice since she won the third season of American Idol. Idol is no understatement for this North Carolina native, one of the few voices that won a prolific television talent competition who remains very relevant by charting in the R&B, hip-hop and pop markets on all her five releases for over a dozen years. Now with a consistently impressive career, how will she handle past treasured Christmas hits from years past?

Producer Ron Fair who was responsible for Fantasia’s last project, The Definition of…, returns for Christmas After Midnight, opting for a completely organic production with a big band approach with some emphasis on jazz-inflected musical charts. Of course, Fantasia feels right at home in her urban skin on “Santa Claus Goes Straight to The Ghetto” and “This Christmas.” She also tears it up with steamy blues, such as “The Snow is Falling” and “Merry Christmas Baby” and shines on a refreshing perspective of “Silent Night.” Where Christmas After Midnight stalls is because Fantasia’s vocal personality does not frankly mesh within those big band settings – cases in point being “The Christmas Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Even the R&B holiday hit first recorded by the Jackson Five, “Give Love on Christmas Day,” lacks the pure excitement that Fantasia usually is capable of.

Like the orchestrations, collaborations could also swim or sink. The biggest letdown pairs Fantasia and CeeLo Green on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which borders on boredom and uninspiring connections. Yet when Fair’s orchestrations and production meet Fantasia in the right place on “Hallelujah,” these are the captivating moments that earned Fantasia’s Idol status for life. This track is not even associated with Christmas, but nonetheless, Fantasia’s gospel sense and passionate touch clearly signify this as the ultimate highlight on Christmas After Midnight. Despite some miscues, Fantasia provides a good jump start for the upcoming holiday season. Three and three quarter stars out of five.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

MORE Music Reviews on T.U.M.S.!:

Ricky Dillard | Choirmaster
Kelly Rowland | Coffee
Boney James | Solid
Keyboardist Jason Miles Big-Ups Black Icons with Black Magic
Sophisticated Soul Singer Will Downing Salutes Baritone Vocal Classics On Romantique Part 2
Second Outing from Corea McBride & Blade Finds Trio as Virtuous and Versatile as Ever
Fantasia | Sketchbook
Raphael Saadiq | Jimmy Lee
Poncho Sanchez | Trane's Delight
Jéssica Pina | Essência
Legends The Mighty O'Jays Bow Out with Soulful Sense of Purpose
Kirk Franklin | LONG LIVE LOVE
Amazing Grace: Aretha Brings The Mountaintop Down to South Central L.A.
New Orleans Offers Up A Sassy Blue Angel
Chaka Khan | Hello Happiness
The Return of The Undisputed Truth is a Sonic Blast From The Past
Shanice: The 'S' is for Steamy on No Sleep new single "He Won't"
London Jones | For You
John Legend | A Legendary Christmas
Will Downing | The Promise
Rhythm Tribe Introduces New Style, Acid Latin, With Return Single "You Can't Take Me Down"
Bob James Drops First Trio CD As A Leader in Over a Decade
Gabrielle | Under My Skin
Charlie Wilson and The O'Jays' Polar Extremes of Soul
Ramsey Lewis, Tower of Power, Anthony Hamilton and More Help Playboy Jazz Festival Turn 40.
Piano Wonder Joey Alexander's Third Outing Proves He's On The Path to Mastery
MeShell Pretzels and Dives Beneath The Surface of `80s & `90s Soul Hits
En Vogue | Electric Café
Sade | "Flower of the Universe" (From Disney's 'A Wrinkle In Time')
Peabo Bryson LIVE at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley - Seattle, Washington | March 2nd, 2018
Walter Beasley - The Best of Walter Beasley | The Affable Years, Volume 1
Sy Smith | Sometimes a Rose Will Grow in Concrete
Dr. Lonnie Smith | All in My Mind
Soul Man Owens' Country Cash Project Pays Off Some of the Time
Take 6 LIVE at Jazz Alley in Seattle, WA | Sept. 21st, 2017
Dee Dee Bridgewater Returns To Birthplace For Soul Food on Memphis...Yes, I'm Ready

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hide