Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas in The Heart & Other Awkward Christmas Albums

I love Christmas, so much so that I just like to yell "CHRISTMAS!" to anyone I meet. Especially babies. They seem to need random screaming the most these days.

But today, in lieu of a "Better Know a Christmas" entry (ok, work schedule made me tired this week. I'm sorry.), I'll blog about some of the stranger Christmas albums that I've come across. Now, as the music snob that I am, I don't own MANY Christmas albums, so these are just a few that I feel that really need some exposure to the 12 of you who read this thing.

If you ever want to make your closest friends & relatives avoid your house during the month of December, put on one of these babies.

Christmas in The Stars

Fun Fact: This was John Bon Jovi's first album.
Ah yes, the infamous Star Wars Christmas Album. Not to be confused with the "Star Wars Holiday Special," which is much more intolerable than this. Many of the songs showcase the singing chops (or rather lack thereof) of C-3PO & R2-D2, plus a few other generic droids that have probably been given interesting backstories thanks to the Expanded Universe. Featuring such heartwarming classics such as "Bells, Bells, Bells," "What Can You Get a Wookie For Christmas (If He Already Owns a Comb)?" and "The Odds Against Christmas," the Jedi in all of us will be delighted to know that the prequels aren't the only blights on this great franchise.

Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics

Yes, this is a real album cover.
Now here's an album I physically own, the album South Park put out. Quite a few years back, the show created an episode that promoted said album, showcasing many of the filthier songs that reside within it, such as "The Dreidel Song," "Christmastime in Hell," and the song EVERYONE remembers:

Merry Fucking Christmas, as sung by Mr. Garrison. Interestingly enough, this WASN'T the most vulgar song on the album. That honor belongs to "The Most Offensive Song Ever"...which was sung by Kenny.

For the episode itself, there was a great Christmas medley performed by Santa and Jesus in the form of a horrible lounge act that got cut thanks to rights issues. I blame it on Santa still being pissed off that there are only 4 songs about him, in comparison to the 800 that feature Jesus.

There's also a few songs that are only on the album, and they get kind of depressing, which is really saying something considering that most of the popular classics are incredibly schmaltzy and tearjerking. Songs like "Dead, Dead, Dead," an uplifting folk song about how we'll all be dead someday. Did I mention that this guy is backed with a chorus of children? Yeah...I'm gonna move on to the next bit.

Christmas with The Chipmunks

I love 60's Alvin & The Chipmunks the best. There, I said it.
Love them or hate them, EVERYONE has this album. Seriously, go into that place where you keep your records, cassettes, CDs, or hell, even iTunes, and it'll be there. Trust me. I used to like them as a kid, but their nails-on-a-chalkboard voices started to grate on me as I aged. It also doesn't really help that their popularity goes through 20 year cycles. Just look: They started in the 60s, got a new show in the 80s along with the introduction of The Chipettes, and then the current live-action abomination we have now. What will the 2020 version of the 'munks bring us? I have no idea, but I'll bet $30 right now that it involves Ireland somehow.

But, as I said in this entry, the famous "Chipmunk Christmas Song" lends itself to corruption quite well. For my imaginary screenplay, it's incredibly easy for me to imagine it playing during a murder spree. Said murder spree will likely begin when someone when someone asks me, er, someone about Theodore's version of "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth."

Christmas in The Heart

Which one is Bob Dylan? You'll be surprised at the answer.
It's always best to save the best for last. I don't think this album is horrible, nor do I think that Bob Dylan is a bad singer. He isn't, and the overall instrumentation of each song is fantastic. But believe me when I say this: this album is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things that I've ever listened to.

Because this is a Christmas album, it's packed to the brim with the classic schmaltz that the holiday brings, like "The First Noel," "The Christmas Song," and whatnot, but what sets this album apart from "Generic Holiday Hits #87" is that someone is actually singing. Yes, it's truly a nice change of pace hearing songs from someone who doesn't need autotune or overbearing sluttiness to sell records. Dylan is a living legend, and you can feel genuine enthusiasm and emotion into every note that comes out of him. And it's his voice that truly sets this apart from me, sounding much like a blender grinding up a whiskey bottle. It's pretty much what I imagine Lady Gaga's true voice to sound like, really

So when he sings one of the depressing songs, you can honestly tell that he wants to down a couple of bottle of jaeger the second he's done with the record, and when he gets enthusiastic and happy, you can't help to dance and sing along. According to my dad, this is the only album in existence where "I'll Be Home For Christmas" sounds like a threat. I love my dad.

But that gravelly frog-cutting-logs-with-a-chainsaw voice makes me giggle in manner where your mom is like "Shut up, you can't laugh in Church," even through "Hark The Herald Angels Sing."

Suffice it to say, this entry has all been one elaborate essay to expose you all to my favorite song on the album: "Must Be Santa."

A mish-mash of polka, drunken chicanery, and lyrics that welcome the appearance of Santa, I have to sing along to this song whenever I hear it. I love this video, too and you could almost swear that Tom Waits is the person singing and not Bob Dylan. Gotta love the random old guys dancing, not to mention the inevitable brawl that ensues while the polka band is rocking out.

My favorite lyrics come at the two minute mark when he starts naming Santa's reindeer: "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen / Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon / Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen / Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton." Okay, this HAD to be the result of an ad-lib, because it's the only part of the song that generally makes no sense and is never mentioned again. This all gives credit to my theory that this isn't Bob Dylan at all, but some hobo the producers dragged out of an alley in the dead of winter to produce a Christmas album in exchange for a bottle of whiskey.

And I absolutely love that.

Got any weird Christmas albums that you've come across? Share it in the comments!

Follow Me on Twitter!
"Like" Beaming For Bunnies on Facebook!

"Like" my Simpsons Quote of The Day Facebook Page!


Deku said...

"Must be Santa" wasn't actually an original song by Dylan. He did change some of the words though as you pointed out.

Galileo said...

My day has been ruined since I found that out.

Turns out even the part with the reindeer wasn't his, either! It was from some band called Brave Combo!

Day: Totally ruined. :(