98 Degrees This Christmas (Universal)

Xmas Records

98 Degrees

This Christmas (Universal)

Christmas doesn't get much whiter than this, an album of excessively harmonic holiday gratings from the RC Cola of boy bands, 98 Degrees. Discovered while singing outside a Boys II Men concert, this Ohio foursome has ridden the coattails of better, more charismatic boy bands to the triple platinum success of 98 Degrees and Rising. While shamelessly sentimental hits like "The Hardest Thing" at least had some snap, This Christmas finds the foursome trading in their already questionable charm for more sap than a forest full of evergreens. The insult of such painfully canned versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Silent Night," and "Little Drummer Boy" cannot be overstated, and even the blessedly snappy midway point, "The Gift," is no salve. With no dance skills, no ability to play instruments, and only marginal good looks, 98 Degrees could at least provide some spine-tingling harmonies. But even here, they fall short -- the bass line of "The Christmas Song" sounds like an extended belch. After a two-year reign on the Top 40 airwaves and young girls' wallets, boy bands may be on their way out -- if only because it really can't get worse than this. It may be the end of the boy bands as we know it. Betcha feel fine.

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