Christmas At Home

Donny Osmond

Epic / Legacy Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Being Christmas Eve and all, you would think that I'm fully in the Christmas spirit, feeling all happy and fuzzy warm all over.

Think again, sucker. For some reason, I have not gotten into the spirit of the holidays this year. I can't explain why this is so, but this is the first Christmas in years that I've not been overtaken by holiday joy.

Even the latest holiday release from Donny Osmond, Christmas At Home, didn't help. I won't go so far as to say that it made my mood worse at times, but while some of these songs capture the mood very well, others fit about as well as snow in Hawaii.

It would be easy to say that the difficulties with this album were split along the lines of traditional carols and newer songs. However, there is both good and bad in each of these camps. Osmond knows how to exploit the good in a positive way, but when these songs are off the mark, look out.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In the traditional vein, Osmond shines on the richly orchestrated efforts like "O Holy Night/Divine". However, when he tries to put a more modern spin on things, the results are painful. I'm sorry, but a reggae-flavored version of "Deck The Halls/Hark, The Herald Angels Sing" just doesn't work. And although he somewhat stays close to the mark on "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year," there is something about this rendition that doesn't seem right. (Could be that I'm so used to Andy Williams's version that everything else pales in comparison; I'm not above admitting this as a possibility.)

As for the more modern numbers (none of which appear to have been written by Osmond), things start off weakly, but end up to be some of the strongest performances on Christmas At Home. Tracks like "After December Slips Away" and "I've Been Looking For Christmas" just come off as being too cornball, and they don't adequately capture the mood; if anything, I'd argue that they were written for various Christmas parades. Another song, "Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas?", showed a lot of promise in the title, but putting a rock vein into this one completely killed it for me.

However, Osmond proves his worth in the last five songs of the album. Soft, subtle ballads like "Mary, Did You Know?" and "Come To The Manger" finally hammer home the meaning of the season, while others like "The Kid In Me" and "My Grown-Up Christmas List" are pleasing on all levels.

Admittedly, you have to go into Christmas At Home putting aside any feelings you may have about Osmond and his past life as a teen idol. Cripes, I was only about six years old when Donny & Marie was on, I don't remember a fribbin' thing about the show, and even I had to go into this with an open mind. It's not easy, but by the end of the album, Osmond should win you over on some level.

Christmas At Home is not a great holiday effort, but the songs that are on target are very much worth your time.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic / Legacy Records, and is used for informational purposes only.