A Bootylicious Christmas? Not quite. But superstar R&B girl group Destiny’s Child is one of many acts, including Barbra Streisand and Toni Braxton, who are getting in on the holiday music game this year.
“We’re just trying to spread more Christmas love, especially in light of what happened on Sept. 11,” said Destiny’s member Kelly Rowland by phone. “We want people to feel happy because there has been so much sorrow and so much pain.”
The group’s largely upbeat album, “8 Days of Christmas,” features a peppy blend of original tunes and seasonal classics, mostly bearing the threesome’s distinctive polyrhythmic, harmony-laden sound.
“We put Destiny’s Child flavor into whatever song it was,” said the group’s newest member Michelle Williams, who shines on a gospel-steeped solo rendition of “Oh Holy Night.”
Another of the album’s highlights is a cover of the late Donny Hathaway’s R&B staple, “This Christmas.” What’s remarkable about the remake is how the song retains its catchy appeal yet is completely restructured in order to fit a trippy, spare hip-hop beat. This rearrangement was borne out of necessity, said Destiny’s lead singer Beyonce Knowles, who produced or co-produced nearly every song on the album.
“That was something that I had to make work, because we were in Japan and they told us that we needed to do a song that night,” said Knowles. She had a number of instrumental tracks with her, but none had been recorded with the Christmas album in mind.
“But I was like, one of these Christmas songs is going to have to go over one of these tracks,” said Knowles. As it turned out, Hathaway’s tune came to mind while she was listening to a track submitted by Rob Fusari, who did the music for, what else, “Bootylicious.”
“The whole time I was like, “Donny, don’t be mad,’ ” said Knowles.
Audio of the interview