Cee Lo Green - Cee Lo’s Magical Moment

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    With all the hoopla regulated to Cee Lo Green’s buoyant retro-soul epiphanies and primetime expeditions on NBC’s The Voice, a family-friendly, all-star holiday extravaganza had to be somewhere in the works. At first glance, Cee Lo’s Magical Moment– his first full set after 2010’s The Lady Killer, appears out of thin air looking like another one of Green’s Vegas stage acts. In his world of Elton John extravagance, the album title actually sounds like DVD extras left off of his last episode. But everything aboard Magical Moment cozies up with the warm wintery scents of evergreen pine and VSOP-spiked egg nog.

    With all the hoopla regulated to Cee Lo Green’s buoyant retro-soul epiphanies and primetime expeditions on NBC’s The Voice, a family-friendly, all-star holiday extravaganza had to be somewhere in the works. At first glance, Cee Lo’s Magical Moment– his first full set after 2010’s The Lady Killer, appears out of thin air looking like another one of Green’s Vegas stage acts. In his world of Elton John extravagance, the album title actually sounds like DVD extras left off of his last episode. But everything aboard Magical Moment cozies up with the warm wintery scents of evergreen pine and VSOP-spiked egg nog.

    In cheery form, Green dips once again into his multi-faceted Id to deliver a soul crooner’s album for the holiday season. He works his fat fingers through Stevie Wonder’s jolly gem “What Christmas Means to Me” using Jackie Wilson prestige, masterfully recreates Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” and weaves Ray Charles-esque Wurlitzer vibes through Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run.”

    The entertainment value of the disc rises to the ceiling when Green opens up his latest set of surprising theatrics. “All I Need Is Love” brings on the Jim Henson’s Muppets for a sing-a-long shindig. The storyboard of an ever-playful “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is finely decorated with Straight No Chaser’s immaculate a capella skills. “Merry Christmas, Baby” turns into a quasi-Sam & Dave duet thanks to a friendly visit from Rod Stewart. Even his cozy rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” sporting a sexy cameo from Green’s small-screen partner-in-crime Christina Aguilera, shows off more of his irresistible “lady killer” moves. When Green chooses to reflect and calm things down, he wisely goes for Joni Mitchell’s “River,” where the Fender Rhodes and therapeutic strings help create one of his most emotional performances to date.

    From the perspective of innovation, the album unfortunately falls from its opulent graces when it unveils its alarming lack of original tunes. Here he avoids the perfect opportunity to pen the next generation’s “This Christmas” or even a holiday parody of “F**k You.” Overtime, Green has proven to be an intriguing songsmith, something that his diehard fans know all too well. On Magical Moment, he settles for being a satisfying interpreter. Thankfully, the package is full of Cee Lo “for all ages” fun and robust nostalgia. It stands tall as a perfect stocking stuffer for those hungry for more of the same. Recommended.

    By J Matthew Cobb

     
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