Where things really get interesting is “Holiday in Oakland,” a track with an old-school hip hop beat and a melody that really sings. The song hits a slightly difficult patch when Lisa B raps the names of some Oakland musical legends and the metamorphosis in tone may stun some listeners, but it’s a spirited move that mostly pays off.
“The Flame” is another unique piece that features the spoken word talents of Lisa B. It is the most stimulating track on the record; while it takes some getting used to, it really presses forward with the intensity and life of the holidays. Lisa’s sense for the theatrical makes the somewhat political lyrics pop with heat and intelligence.
Christmas Time is Here is not a conventional Christmas album, but it doesn’t have to be. It is a courageous, risky, considerate record that ventures easily between the orthodox and the eccentric in the full spirit of all the holidays.