The Christmas Album, as a concept, is a strange phenomenon. It can signal anything from a brief pop-fad (see: Boys II Men, 98º, Rosie O’Donnell), an attempt to cash-in on successful pop culture (see: Alvin and the Chipmunks, the California Raisins), or the last desperate attempt at reviving sagging career (see: Christina Aguilera, N*Sync, Yanni).

Following the likes of Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and the cast of American Idol, Ashanti steps out of her usual duet role and takes the spotlight on her very own album to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour.

It should be noted right away the album isn’t that good. Ashanti struggles to eke out her own versions of classics like "Silent Night" and "Winter Wonderland" and rarely strays from the usual repertoire of such Christmas songs. Even original tracks like "Sharing Christmas," which she apparently helped pen, are less than inspiring.

When the album is catchy–and some parts are in fact catchy–it’s because the songs are good to begin with. It’s hard to ruin "Winter Wonderland," try as you may. Unfortunately, it’s equally difficult to make these songs your own.

Needless to say, Ashanti didn’t come close.

While it probably didn’t ruin anyone’s Christmas, when it comes to a solid option for non-traditional background music, I’ll stick to the Chipmunks.

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