The Boys At Christmas (Music Thoughts: Let It Snow, 98 Degrees; Finally It’s Christmas, Hanson )

You know you are really getting old when you see 90s revival as nostalgia (when, during the 90s, those things already felt like nostalgia) But, as, they say, just go with the flow. This Christmas season, we are getting Holiday albums from two boy bands from the 90s.

98_DegreesWho knew 98 Degrees were still together and singing? But then again, why wouldn’t they? They sound great here, to be honest, with their harmonies still tight, and there’s that 98 degrees personality still intact, which should come as a welcome surprise to their fans. The music is your standard fare, with pop arrangements of well-worn classics. Nick Lachey still sounds robust as ever, and I kind of laugh inside when he sings ‘Little St Nick,’ but that’s just naughty naughty me, I suppose. But can we get a moratorium on people covering Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’? I doubt she meant for that to be a Holiday song when she wrote it. All in all, ‘Let It Snow’ is fun and harmless, and I wouldn’t mind it playing while I wrap presents.

46453426657d853664b6413c07e490948f1df889I never really paid attention to Hanson when they were big, but apparently this is their second Holiday album, and it has been twenty years apart. ‘Finally It’s Christmas,’ if for anything has that distinct pop-rock sound, and their song choices reflect that well. There’s a real maturity to ‘Blue Christmas,’ for example and even an old chestnut like ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ shows a lot of depth. But, their sound just doesn’t cater to my taste, ultimately. This is an authentic group with an authentic sound, though, and I am sure it will their loyal followers and may gain them new ones, too.


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