It is common for actors to explore their musical talents, as they complement each other like movies and popcorn. Growing up in the eighties, I recall Eddie Murphy, Don Johnson, and Philip Michal Thomas releasing projects. This week’s Second Listen Sunday pick is Gregory Hines, the late thespian and tap-dancing icon who released a self-titled album
Second Listen Sunday : B2K, Santa Hooked Me Up
In the year 2002, B2K were the dominant R&B boy band. Their debut achieved gold status and the concerts stayed sold out. Prior to releasing their third album Pandemonium in December of that year, label execs had the bright idea to release a Christmas album. Arriving in stores on October 29, 2002, Santa Hooked Me Up is clearly a cash grab for the tween crowd of the time.
“Why Did You Leave Me On Christmas” was the first and only single from the album. Written by IMX members Marques Houston, Jerome Jones and Kelton Keese the song is a decent slow jam with Omarion’s lead vocal expressing disdain over losing his woman during the holiday season. IMX also lends their writing talents to the albums opening number and titular track. I get the vibe they were going for on the song, but I did not care for it when I was 21 and at age 40 it sound when even worse.
Now there is an argument that I was not in the demographic for the song but the other up-tempo track “Sexy Boy Christmas” feat. Tg4 is not any better. Furthermore, the group’s cover of Christmas classics “Jingle Bells”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are laughable. In my opinion, the only reason the songs are on this album was to appease the parents of B2K fans. Outside of a few exceptions, I have always preferred B2K’s slower material. Therefore, it is no secret that is the album’s strongest material.
“Rain and Snow”, “Everyone’s Home For Christmas” and “My First Christmas” more than make up for the album’s weaker material. Santa Hooked Me Up closes out with a mediocre cover of “Santa Baby” by Jhené Aiko. Santa Hooked Me Up. Christmas albums can usually go one of two ways. They can either give an artist a chance to highlight their ability to sing anything as Alexander O’Neal did with 1988’s classic My Gift to You or they come off as nothing more than a stocking stuffer for fans of a hot new artist.
Santa Hooked Me Up falls into the latter category, as nothing on here is particularly memorable or worth adding to your Christmas playlist.
Final Grade: C
Santa Hooked Me Up is available on all streaming platforms
More reviews to explorer
It’s been six years since audiences experienced the rating-breaking three-part mini-series, The New Edition Story. I still remember my excitement walking into an advance screening of Part 1 on a cold January night. One of my favorite scenes occurs in this part when a young Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins are supporting a pre-teen Bobby Brown in a talent show. The local Boston-based group, The Untouchables, is performing a cover of Philly soul group Blue Magic’s “Spell” before Bobby takes the stage. After hearing another cover version of the song in Michael Bivin’s documentary, The Hustle of 617 Biv, I decided to feature it for Slow Jam Saturday.
R&B fans were elated this past summer when R&B legend Raphael Saadiq announced he had reunited with Tony! Toni! Toné! for a fall tour. The tour kicked off this past Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, with twenty-five planned stops. I plan on attending the Oxon Hill, MD, stop this coming Monday.