We’ve been waiting for a Christmas album from JoJo ever since she dropped “The Christmas Song” last year, but we totally weren’t prepared for this incredible album, titled December Baby. This follows up her feature on Lindsey Lomis’ song “Slow Motion” as well as her incredible single, titled “The Change“.
JoJo, real name Joanna Levesque, is best known for her hit singles in the 00’s with the likes of “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little Too Late”. She dropped two albums in her early years which charted globally, JoJo and The High Road. On top of that, she launched her acting career making her name known in the likes of Aquamarine and RV. Things then started to die down as her record label refused to release a third album, even though JoJo kept sending completed LPs their way, and so she released Mixtapes instead to get her music out into the world, with the likes of Can’t Take That Away From Me and Agápe. She also appeared in the film G.B.F. and guest-starred in House of Glam and Hawaii Five-0. After a lawsuit struggle to get out of her contract with the record label that wouldn’t release her third album – which she went into detail about in a candid interview with UPROXX, she was finally able to officially release music signing with Atlantic Records, which is where we got her tringle, which were “When Love Hurts“, “Say Love“, and “Save My Soul“, as well as two EPs, before starting her third era which saw her release “F**k Apologies” featuring Wiz Khalifa, “Music.”, “FAB.” featuring Remy Ma, and her third album Mad Love. Away from Atlantic Records and in response to her first two albums not being available on download and streaming sites, JoJo re-recorded those two albums and the singles “Disaster” and “Demonstrate” and made them available for us all to download and stream releasing on her own record label Clover Music in connection with Warner Bros. Records. This year, JoJo geared up for the release of her new album good to know by dropping new singles “Man” and “Lonely Hearts”, which follows up the previously released singles “Joanna” and “Sabotage”; and the new album showcased to the world what we’ve been missing all this time, and she later followed it up with an acoustic version and a deluxe version of the album. We also managed to interview her about her fourth studio album, exclusively on CelebMix. Now she’s released this Christmas album… 2020 has so been JoJo’s year!
Are we really ready to delve in deep into these Christmas songs with JoJo’s awesome vocals? She always nails every song she sings and as the years have gone by she has just become more and more incredible. Now that she’s an independent artist, she has totally flourished and has totally started to make up for lost time, and this is another incredible album to add to her collection. Here’s our track by track album review of December Baby.
Noelle (feat. Jacob Collier)
Opening the album with a short 43-second version of “Noelle” featuring Jacob Collier is such an epic way to introduce us to this album. JoJo sets the tone immediately, meeting and exceeding our expectations of what a JoJo Christmas album would look like with the very first song. Full of so much soul and incredible vocal runs – which is totally JoJo’s signature style right now – “Noelle” sounds beyond beautiful, creating a sparkle of Christmas that we know we’re going to feel throughout the rest of the album. Jacob Collier adds harmonies here and there, with the track feeling very church-like. This snippet of a track completely excites us for the rest of the album… We’ve been waiting for a JoJo Christmas album for years and she certainly won’t disappoint.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
The start of this track has R&B vibes before JoJo’s soulful voice kicks in, which throws us back to the ’00s when R&B was at its height. Laidback and beyond beautiful, JoJo really brings it for her simply-gorgeous cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. This version puts us right in the Christmas mood and it is one track that needs to be in Christmas playlists across the board. We can see this being played every single year, one that becomes a constant popular version as each Christmas comes by.
O Come All Ye Faithful (Interlude)
Fans of JoJo’s mixtapes from years ago will rejoice in hearing this interlude as it is reminiscent of the interludes found on Agápe. Powerful in every way, JoJo shines on this short clip of “O Come All Ye Faithful”, showcasing how brilliant her vocals are and making us wonder – again – how she isn’t a chart-successful global superstar. With her awesome vocals, we’re sure she will be soon, now that she can consistently release music again.
Time for the title track, “December Baby”, and it’s the first of a handful of original Christmas tracks by JoJo. It has been written by JoJo with Brian Wiggins and Nathaniel Austin Brown, while BLVK produced it. Containing brilliant elements of a traditional Christmas song, “December Baby” wins over listeners easily and effortlessly, to the extent where it feels like a lost Christmas anthem that we’ve only just discovered. JoJo’s vocals are pure soulful perfection spun in a pop sound. We’re not surprised it was chosen as the title track as it certainly stands out for all the right reasons, and could totally become a Christmas hit for JoJo, if not this year then definitely in the upcoming years.
Another original track that has been written and produced by the same people as “December Baby” (Songwriters: Brian Wiggins, JoJo, and Nathaniel Austin Brown, with BLVK as Producer). “Coming Home” is a chilled Christmas song that contains a tonne of Christmas items with the message of returning to the East Coast via plane rather than spending time together through Facetime. It’s a cute track full of deep soul that is chilled throughout. JoJo brings it with earnest, meaning the words she’s singing with conviction.
The Christmas Song
The track from last year that was originally only released on Amazon, “The Christmas Song” had us excited about JoJo releasing Christmas music, although it took a year until she dropped a full Christmas album and we love her for it. Originally this song is very soulful and has been covered by a whole host of well-known singers, and this just suits JoJo’s voice down to a tee. Find out more of what we made of the song, when it was released last year, in our previous article here.
Deck The Halls (Interlude)
Another interlude, this time a cover of “Deck The Halls”, and it is officially the shortest track on the album. It feels like JoJo was just messing about in the recording booth as they recorded this one – which is her usual style when it comes to interludes if Agápe is anything to go by. It feels special, like we’re actually at the recording studio, listening to some behind-the-scenes clips. There’s not much to this, but it is upbeat and switches it up for the listeners. Once again, JoJo brings some effortless but incredible vocal runs to the table, making us hope that one day she’ll record an complete cover of “Deck The Halls”.
Wrap Me Up
Another original written by Brian Wiggins, JoJo, and Nathaniel Austin Brown with BLVK as producer, “Wrap Me Up” is a total R&B Christmas song that is giving us teenager JoJo vibes. We imagine that this is the sort of song JoJo would’ve sang during her first two albums, and it sort of has a “Baby It’s You” vibe about it. It’s great to hear this brilliant song from JoJo, it’s totally sing-along-worthy. The track is pure love and how another person can be all the presents you need on Christmas day.
“North Pole” is also an original song by the same songwriters and producer. Verses dominate in this chorus-free track, which is all about the North Pole. JoJo experiments with vocal runs and melodic rhythm. It’s an interesting track that feels like a bridge into the next songs. Experimental JoJo is something we are living for and “North Pole” sets a precedent for what else we may expect from her in the future. This works well within the album and showcases JoJo’s brilliant artistry.
What Child Is This (Interlude)
This one opens with JoJo knocking on a door stating that she’s trying to bring Christmas cheer – once again hitting some comedic elements in her interludes. This is then followed with a beautiful violin instrumental version of “What Child Is This?” to which she proclaims is the saddest Christmas song she has heard. It’s hard not to like these interludes that break up the album, and this one, in particular, has someone answering the door she knocked on.
WOW! If there’s one song we’ve always wanted to hear JoJo sing, it’s “Silent Night”, and she certainly doesn’t disappoint at all, however she still manages to surprise us with this rendition. There are a hundred different ways JoJo could’ve sang “Silent Night”, in fact, we’ve probably heard all those different ways from the massive amount of artists who have covered this song but instead, JoJo tackles the track by putting her own stamp on it and switching it up into a soulful yet chilled number. Her vocal runs are pure perfection and she nails the track in every way without over singing it – which many artists have done in the past. Held back and chilled, this version of “Silent Night” impresses us on a whole different level.
Wishlist (feat. PJ Morton)
This awesome original track, “Wishlist”, was written by Billy Steinberg, Brian Wiggins, Joanna Levesque, Josh Alexander, Nathaniel Austin Brown, and PJ Morton, with BLVK acting as producer. The track is a powerful and soulful ballad with JoJo impressing non-stop vocally, and PJ Morton bringing the fire to the song completely. This is just one perfect song that we could listen to over and over again, as JoJo and PJ Morton’s voices mesh brilliantly together. Vocal runs and harmonies from these brilliant artists totally send the emotions this song contains, to its listeners. We can hear how much they want the one they loved back in their arms for Christmas, whether that is a lover or a friend or a family member, as their single and only wish to Santa, and it has an air of heartbreak written all over the track. Touching us right inside, this is such a great but sad Christmas song.
We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Interlude)
An interlude to end this album, and it’s another epic Christmas carol cover, this time of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”. What a way to end the album, JoJo keeps up the pretense of Christmas carolers as she once again knocks on a door, which is subsequently opened with a massive creak, before she launches into this fantastic cover. Her voice suits this song amazingly and she clearly enjoyed singing this one – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” is just such a happy song it’s impossible not to sing this with some sort of joyousness. Unforgettable in every way, this interlude will certainly make you want to listen to the whole album again and listen to JoJo’s amazing vocals. This track just blows us away, and once again we hope she will release a full cover of this track one day.
If there’s one Christmas album we’ll be playing on repeat this December, it’s going to be December Baby by JoJo! Vocals for days, as ever, JoJo shines throughout with her powerful yet controlled voice. She could so have easily given us an over sang Christmas album which we would still have loved, but this is so much more than that, this is thought-out, calculated correctly, and has a constant sprinkle of perfection throughout. December Baby is an album that is set to last a lifetime, to be played every year, on rotation. Amazing, incredible, soulful, and Christmassy, this has totally exceeded all expectations that we originally had of a JoJo Christmas album. Thank you, JoJo, for this masterpiece.
December Baby, the Christmas album by JoJo is available to download and stream right now, via Warner Records.