Personnel: Brian McKnight (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Boyz II Men; Jim Hinger; Brian McKnight.
Recording information: Backroom Studios, Glendale, CA; Rainbow Recording Studios, Omaha, NE; Studio 4, Philadelphia, PA; The Hit Factory, London, England.
Indeed, it is the most wonderful time of the year, and this reissue of 1993's Christmas Interpretations arrives under the Universal 20th Century Masters series, which has launched its own subset of holiday releases. Produced by fellow soulful crooner Brian McKnight, this ten-song workout is not a collection of holiday favorites (aside from the traditional "Silent Night" that opens and closes the recording), but a series of brand new holiday compositions based on the quiet storm market. The Boyz are in fine form, as per usual, and the production work is of top-notch quality. However, within the smooth delivery lie lyrics that are melancholic and downtrodden, the kind of despair that is commonly associated with the holiday season but just not expressed so soulfully, most notably in the composition "Why Christmas," which reflects the existential angst of world issues during the holiday season. The results are a bit like crossing "What's Going On" with the New Edition classic "Can You Stand the Rain." Not exactly uplifting stuff to play when unwrapping presents or carving the holiday turkey, but if you are into pleasant-sounding melodies and silky-smooth production, then this is the perfect Christmas album for you. While most die-hard fans might already have this in their collections, fans who might have glanced over this release originally would be well-served to pick it up. ~ Rob Theakston