Day 358 – CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN. #6 – Christmas On Death Row

Christmas on Death Row Album Review

It’s day six of my deviation from the rest of this year’s project! I’m writing about 7 different Christmas albums this week, leading up to TOMORROW.

Do you like Christmas? COOL.

Do you like candy canes or the fact that Snoop Dogg coaches pee wee football OR CANDY CANES? COOL.

Do you like Death Row Records? COOL.

Do you know who Nate Dogg is? COOL.

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, you’ll certainly enjoy Christmas on Death Row, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

A collection of 17 songs, made up of originals and reconditioned versions of timeless favorites, 1996’s Christmas on Death Row leads with its best song (“Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” by the inimitable Snoop Dogg), then changes the whole script and goes R&B for the remainder. This diversion includes the poor man’s R. Kelly, Danny Boy!

I will forever be into Christmas music, but especially an entire album of songs purportedly to be from the baddest record label on this planet which actually turned out to be pretty tame.

From Christmas on Death Row, this is “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” –

Standout tracks: Nate Dogg’s “Be Thankful.” End of story.
Weakest track: None, are you serious? You hate Christmas music, you Grinch? You hate FUN, you doodoo head? You are the worst.

RIYL: CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Also, if you follow Snoop Dogg/Lion/‘Zilla on Twitter. This one’s for you.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Death-Row-Various-Artists/dp/B00005AQGQ

Day 357 – CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN. #5 – Christmas With Johnny Cash

Christmas With Johnny Cash Album Review

Special note: Here we are again. Right back to the Tampa Airport, as I was on September 6th, before flying to Washington, DC, to intern for NPR’s All Songs Considered. I’m heading back there in just a few weeks to be a permanent DC resident, which is frightening and exciting all the same. Being back in my home state right now is a little… disorienting? It clearly has defined the reasons I left in the first place. How they’re so evident now, I guess I was denying them the whole time I was here the last few years. Last night, I went and saw Brand New and Kevin Devine in a tiny bar in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, then stayed in a strange hostel and had a day of travel hell today. I’m weary. This project is almost over. I get to see my dog for the first time in 4 months in about 90 minutes.

Things are different now. Better. Difficult, but better. Find what’s important to you and make it happen. Now here’s some nonsense about John R. Cash.

It’s day five of my deviation from the rest of this year’s project! I’m writing about 7 different Christmas albums this week, leading up to the big day itself.

Do you like Christmas? COOL.

Do you like music from the true King? COOL.

Do you like smoky versions of Christmas classics or breathing? COOL.

Do you know who Johnny Cash is? COOL.

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, you’ll certainly enjoy Christmas With Johnny Cash, an album of 12 versions of old faithfuls, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “Joy to the World.”

A few years ago, the fine gentleman who used to co-host the radio show that I did for a long time got me a Christmas gift: Johnny Cash Reads the Bible.

It is exactly as you might expect it to be, based on its name. Let me say this though. John’s register is haunting and makes anything worth listening to. Even if you don’t practice or agree with Christianity, it’s worth a listen because of what he does with it.

I will forever be into Christmas music, but especially an entire album of songs written and recorded by The Man in Black.

From Christmas With Johnny Cash, this is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” –

Standout tracks: This dude’s voice takes every track on here to the next level. You crazy for this one, John (S’YA’BOY).
Weakest track: None, are you serious? You hate Christmas music, you Grinch? You hate FUN, you yogurt head? You are the worst.

RIYL: CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Also, one of the most memorable voices of all time.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/christmas-with-johnny-cash/id203320379

Day 356 – CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN. #4 – Just Can’t Get Enough: A New Wave Xmas

Just Can't Get Enough: A New Wave Xmas Album Review

It’s day four of my deviation from the rest of this year’s project! I’m writing about 7 different Christmas albums this week, leading up to the big day itself.

Do you like Christmas? COOL.

Do you like music from the 1980s, ostensibly the greatest decade of music ever written and recorded? COOL.

Do you like egregious keyboards or food? COOL.

Do you know what New Wave is? COOL.

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, you’ll certainly enjoy Just Can’t Get Enough: A New Wave Xmas! I have to admit, yesterday’s experience with James Brown’s Funky Christmas was… a little painful. I like my Christmas as funky as the next, but mayhaps 17 tracks is a bit much?

Which is precisely the reason you need to cleanse your palate with 17 more, but this time, LET’S NEW WAVE!

Released in 1996, Just Can’t Get Enough is a collection of a bunch of Christmas songs spanning the New Wave era, primarily centered in the 1980s. Despite an appearance by the legendary Bing Crosby (I know, right?) – and coupled by the fact that it’s a duet with David Bowie (!) – A New Wave Xmas takes the traditional Christmas holiday spirit, spins it right round, and turns it on its weird little head.

For some perspective, the most normal inclusion on here is the David Bowie song with Bing. Yup. Aladdin Sane and The Thin White Duke is this record’s CPA.

I will forever be into Christmas music, but especially an entire album of songs written and recorded during the greatest musical period in the history of civilization, the veritable ‘80s.

From A New Wave Xmas, this is one of the more ridiculous things you’ll see all (the rest of this) year, Captain Sensible’s “One Christmas Catalogue” –

BONUS VIDEO!

This is Bing Crosby & David Bowie’s “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” –

Standout tracks: Good Lord, whatever Root Boy Slim and The Sex Change Band with The Rootettes’ “Xmas At Kmart” is, I need to hear it forever. Also, David Bowie/Bing Crosby’s version of “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” is exactly what you’d expect it to be: perfect.
Weakest track: None, are you serious? You hate Christmas music, you Grinch? You hate FUN, you Philistine? You are the worst.

RIYL: CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Also, if you ever wanted to find ‘weird’ Christmas music that doesn’t quite fit the mold. This. This is everything.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/New-Wave-Xmas-Just-Enough/dp/B0000033W7

Day 355 – CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN. #3 – James Brown’s Funky Christmas

James Brown's Funky Christmas Album Review

It’s day three of my deviation from the rest of this year’s project! I’m writing about 7 different Christmas albums this week, leading up to the big day itself.

Do you like Christmas? COOL.

Do you like the funkiest dude of all time? COOL.

Do you like James Brown or fun? COOL.

Do you know who James Brown is? COOL.

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, you’ll certainly enjoy James Brown’s Funky Christmas, one of the Funky Man’s three Christmas albums released in just four years. Are you serious, dude? You could never like Christmas much as JB does. Don’t even bother trying.

James Brown’s Funky Christmas is a collection of 17 Christmas songs: some versions of old time favorites, but mostly brand new songs BOUND to be classics some 40+ years lat- oh. That’s just, like, my opinion though (man).

I will forever be into Christmas music, but especially the funkiest of all time.

From James Brown’s Funky Christmas, this is “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” –

Standout tracks: “Go Power at Christmas Tree” and “Santa Claus is Definitely Here”
Weakest track: None, are you serious? You hate Christmas music, you Grinch? You hate FUN, you ogre? You are the worst.

RIYL: CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Also, a man more prolific with (the oddly specific) funky Christmas albums than you’ll ever be with anything else you’ll ever do, dude. KNEEL BEFORE THE GODFATHER.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/james-browns-funky-christmas/id750173200

Day 354 – CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN. #2 – A Very Special Christmas

Various Artists - A Very Special Christmas Album Review

It’s day two of my deviation from the rest of this year’s project! I’m writing about 7 different Christmas albums this week, leading up to the big day itself.

Do you like Christmas? COOL.

Do you like musicians made popular mostly in the 1980s? COOL.

Do you like Run-DMC (or PCP)? COOL.

Do you know who Run-DMC is? COOL.

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, you’ll certainly enjoy A Very Special Christmas, a compilation record released the year I was born, so obviously it’s way more special. 1987. Forever.

A Very Special Christmas is a collection of 15 versions of popular Christmas songs performed by various groups who were once popular did in various (but mostly dated) styles, including The Pointer Sisters’ doing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the ridiculous John Mellancamp cover of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and Bon Jovi doing whatever “Back Door Santa” is. I assume it’s pornographic. Don’t go based on my assumptions though.

I will forever be into Christmas music, but especially various artist Christmas compilations from 1987. FOREVER!

From A Very Special Christmas, this is U2’s version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” –

…and a bonus! Run-DMC’s classic “Christmas In Hollis” –

Standout tracks: Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and BRUCE’s “Merry Christmas Baby”
Weakest track: None, are you serious? You hate Christmas music, you Grinch? You hate FUN, you oaf? You are the worst.

RIYL: CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Also, the 1980’s, ostensibly the greatest decade of all time.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/very-special-christmas-vol./id30946876

Day 353 – CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN #1. The Ventures’ Christmas Album

The Ventures' Christmas Album Review

Welcome to my first annual CHRISTMAS SPECIALTACULAR IMPACT WEEK (OF JUSTICE) 20-THIRTEEN, WHERE EVERYTHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS MUSIC IS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD!

In a deviation from the rest of this year’s project, I’m writing about 7 different Christmas albums this week, leading up to the big day itself. Today’s record by surf rock group The Ventures gets us started.

Do you like Christmas? COOL.

Do you like surf rock? COOL.

Do you like Dick Dale? COOL.

Do you know who Dick Dale is? COOL.

If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, you’ll certainly enjoy The Ventures’ Christmas Album from 1965.

Surf is a brand of ‘50s and ‘60s-inspired guitar rock, popularized by the legendary Dick Dale during this same time period. Dick Dale is to surf rock as Fela Kuti is to Afrobeat: neither happens without their respective presidents. It’s a brand of music marked by tons and tons of reverb, which is referred to as a ‘wet’ sound and hence, the association with surfing.

The Ventures’ Christmas Album is a collection of 12 versions of popular Christmas songs the band did in the style of surf rock, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Blue Christmas” and “White Christmas.”

Why we have to color Christmas when there’s clearly a war against it is beyond me, but this is the America we live in today.

I will forever be into Christmas music, but especially surf rock Christmas compilations from 1965. FOREVER!

From The Ventures’ Christmas Album, this is THE WHOLE THING! MERRY CHRISTMAS AMIRITE –

Standout tracks: “Sleigh Ride” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
Weakest track: None, are you serious? You hate Christmas music, you Grinch? You hate FUN, you toad? You are the worst.

RIYL: CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Also surf rock.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-ventures-christmas-album/id715549494