Monday, September 10, 2007

No. 142: A Christmas Gift for You

Band: Phil Spector (though, really, it's a various artists situation)
Album: A Christmas Gift for You
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Wow, this is weird. I, uh, don't think this is a necessary record, considering it's a gimmick album. I mean, I like Phil Spector as much as the next 26-year-old, but, a Christmas album?
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Well, it's a Christmas album, isn't it? By their nature, these things are novelties. They don't get much play outside of a six-week period (and that may be generous). What happens during the other 46 weeks in the year?
Best song: "White Christmas" is a fun song.
Worst song: I don't like "Silent Night" by anyone.
Is it awesome?: Not really.

Let me say that I feel entirely weird riding the Metro in the middle of September while listening to a Christmas album. Needless to say, I'm about two months early on this thing.

Also, let's look at the absurdity of a New York-born Jewish fellow making what is considered a classic Christmas album. What song does the record lead off with? Of course, another song written by a Jewish dude. I'm going to say that "A Christmas Gift for You" is a little too Jewish to be taken really seriously.

(Though, really, how seriously does one take a Christmas album? Not really seriously, right? And for my tastes, the less Jesus, the better.)

Spector's sound, of course, is the signature of the record. Hearing the orchestra clash into the wall of sound while the percussion thumps is pretty amazing. The high harmonies of bands like Darlene Love and the Ronettes do standards like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Winter Wonderland" is pretty awesome. Also, much to my amazement and excitement, "Jingle Bell Rock" is absent. I hate that song and even the wall of sound couldn't save it.

But still, a Christmas album? Ahead of "Straight Outta Compton?" Really?

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