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Merry Christmas II You is Mariah Carey's 13th studio and second Christmas album that was released on November 2, 2010 by Island Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Intro 0:22
  2. Oh Santa! 3:31
  3. O Little Town Of Bethlehem / Little Drummer Boy Medley 3:32
  4. Christmas Time Is In The Air Again 3:01
  5. The First Noel / Born Is The King Interlude 4:32
  6. When Christmas Comes 4:46
  7. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) / Housestop Celebration 3:29
  8. Charlie Brown Christmas 2:49
  9. O Come All Ye Faithful / Hallelujah Chorus 3:38
  10. O Holy Night - Live From WPC In South Central Los Angeles 5:00
  11. One Child 4:25
  12. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Extra Festive 4:02
  13. Auld Lang Syne - The New Year's Anthem 3:47

Album BackgroundEdit

Mariah Carey's twelfth studio album, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" was released in 2009. The album produced the Billboard Hot 100 top ten and platinum certified track "Obsessed."

However, subsequent single releases failed to replicate its success, with "I Want to Know What Love Is" peaking at #60 on the Hot 100 and "H.A.T.E.U." reaching number 72 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Carey revealed that she intended to re-release "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" as a remix album in early 2010, titled "Angels Advocate", which would consist of remixes of the standard songs with new featured artists, including Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Trey Songz, R. Kelly, T-Pain, Gucci Mane and OJ da Juiceman.

A release date of February 23, 2010, was slated, and then pushed back to March 9; it was then further pushed back to March 30.

The tracks "Angels Cry" and "Up Out My Face" from "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" were released as remixes with Ne-Yo featuring on the former and Nicki Minaj on the latter.

However, it was confirmed in March 2010 that production of "Angels Advocate" had halted and the project was shelved indefinitely.

Carey's record label Island Def Jam stated that Carey was instead working on a new project and "new surprises". Metro revealed that she was either recording a new studio album or possibly a Christmas album.

In an interview for Rap-Up in April 2010, Jermaine Dupri said that he and Carey had already begun working on new songs, stating: "The song of the decade crew is back in the lab. This [is] the first day of the new shit."

On April 24, David LaChapelle said that he had shot the album artwork with fake snow and wooden cutout reindeers, thus confirming that the project was a Christmas album.

On May 5, Dupri confirmed that he and Carey were in the early stages of production for the album, that Bryan-Michael Cox and Johntá Austin were involved in the project and that they hoped to release a single by the end of the year.

Roger Friedman of Showbiz411 revealed some information about the album on June 3, 2010, saying: "Mariah’s Christmas album is said to be very lush, with lots of strings and no hip hop. A lot of it is said to be 'live' and there’s an orchestra" and would feature a new version of her 1994 Christmas single, "All I Want for Christmas Is You".

It was reported by Showbiz411 in August 2010 that Carey had enlisted Broadway composer Marc Shaiman to work on the then untitled album; the magazine described the pairing as "unusual" but noted that the outcome could be "colossal".

On September 1, 2010, Rap-Up exclusively revealed the title of the album, Merry Christmas II You, and that it would be released on November 2 with original songs as well as covers.

The II represents being a sequel to Carey's first Christmas album, "Merry Christmas."

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Merry Christmas II You" debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 55,000 copies, becoming Carey's 16th top-10 album which placed her third amongst women for the most top 10 entries (after Madonna, with 19 and Barbra Streisand with 30).

It also topped Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart & Billboard's Holiday Albums chart, and peaked at #7 on Billboard's Digital Albums chart.

In January of 2011, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA, denoting shipments exceeding 500,000 copies.

Critical ReceptionEdit

At Metacritic (which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics), "Merry Christmas II You" received an average score of 60, based on eight reviews, which indicates "mixed or average" reviews.

About.com writer Bill Lamb praised the album, writing that it has a "relaxed, comfortable" which is "engaging". He wrote that the original compositions were "solid", placing emphasis on "Oh Santa!", "One Child" and "When Christmas Comes", but felt that "Christmas Time Is In the Air Again" was overshadowed by its heavy orchestration. He concluded by writing: "Mariah Carey does know her way around Christmas albums."

Joey Guerra of the Houston Chronicle echoed Lamb's sentiments, adding that the album ought to boost Carey's career.

He was complimentary of its overall feel, writing that manages to capture the "same magic" as her previous Christmas album, Merry Christmas, and that the original songs fit "snugly" with the Christmas classics. He finished his review with "There's enough sweet spirit here to keep the holidays merry, musical and bright."

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic noted that the four new original compositions gave it "a lively modern feel," and highlighted "Oh Santa!" and "When Christmas Comes" as examples. He continued to write that although some covers, such as "Auld Lang Syne" and "Charlie Brown Christmas" sound "stiff", the album as a complete body of work is "cheerful and engaging" and is a worthy successor to Carey's previous Christmas album.

BBC Music's Mike Diver thought that although the album is not necessarily "clever", it is "expectedly big", and that while "Oh Santa!" is not in the "same league" as "All I Want for Christmas Is You", it's a perfect stocking filler.

Rolling Stone writer Caryn Ganz disliked the two original ballads, "Christmas Time Is In the Air Again" and "One Child", describing them "both thick with gooey orchestration", but praised "Oh Santa!" and "When Christmas Comes" for their uptempo melodies.

However, she was confused by the re-recording of "All I Want for Christmas Is You", saying that "It's hard to figure out what's 'extra festive'", and quipped that it is "far easier to determine what's wrong with 'Auld Lang Syne' (an awkward dance beat)". Ganz concluded with "the LP's warm heart is in the right place."

Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine gave the album two and a half stars out of five, writing: "Everything about Carey’s sequel to 1994’s buoyant, if, in retrospect, safe, Merry Christmas is as desperate and habitual as it is reassuringly predictable."

While he continued to label it as an "incredibly adventureless album," he also wrote that it is a "remarkably comforting listen". He felt that the album was not a sequel, or a remake, but rather an attempt at rewinding time on Carey's part.

Rich Juzwiak of The Village Voice was critical of the album.

He described "One Child" as a "needless retelling", "Oh Santa!" as trying too hard and too difficult to sing along to and "All I Want for Christmas Is You (Extra Festive)" as a desperate attempt at Carey canonising herself for re-recording her own song. "The near-crazed desperation to please listeners for her own sake is all over Merry Christmas II You: A "gift" to her fans (or so she claims) that they, of course, must pay for, it's her fascinating, career-long saga of self-obsession in a nutshell."

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