Author’s note: In order to give these albums a fair and unbiased critique, I drank one Red Bull for each record, hoping to achieve the kind of “holiday cheer” necessary to tolerate any sort of Christmas music.
Various Artists A Dark Noel?
One Red Bull: The idea of making a dark Christmas album is nothing new (and there’s nothing more irritating than adding novelty to novelty), but A Dark Noel seems to revel in its unoriginality. You’ve always thought “Carol of the Bells” would make a creepy operatic? So has everyone else—and that’s exactly what opens this dreary album. Each track is ripe with clichés, from the Suspiria-aping “We Three Kings” to the aren’t-singing-children-singing-creepy? “Silent Night.” The only highlight is the New Wavy “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” which still can’t get over its own bah humbuggery. (Projekt)
Fred Claus Music from the Motion Picture
Two Red Bulls: You can’t expect anything less formulaic than jazzy renditions of “Jingle Bells” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” from this season’s most formulaic movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, throwing Jackson 5, Elvis, and The Ronnettes together on the same album would melt the heart of any Grinch. The only downer is Vince Vaughn’s cold, dead eyes looking at you from the album cover, begging for your cheer (it’s kind of hard to type when your hands starts shaking…)
The Green Days of Christmas Holiday Tribute to Green Day?
Three Red Bulls: Whooo! Finally, Christmas and Punk Rawk! I don’t even care if these are just Green Day songs played on a French horn and glockenspiel, they’re still subversive. I mean, they give the middle finger to commercial holidays while being part of them … or something. And how funny is it that a song like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is supposed to be heartwarming? My girlfriend just told me to turn this down ’cause I was playing it too loud, so I called her Scrooge and flipped her off!
Toby Keith Classic Christmas
Four Red Bulls: What?!! Only two discs????!!!! I don’t know why everyone’s always so down on this guy—he sings a damned-fine rendition of “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” and “Silver Bells,” and “White Christmas,” and “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Little Drummer Boy” … In fact dissing him seems downright un-American. Fuck you, Dixie Chicks! Why do you hate Christmas??? I may need to listen to this one again while—(oh I accidentally bought an extra Red Bull … word!!!!)
Celine Dion These Are Special Times x 65.5
? Red Bulls: Too … much … cheer. … Remember … Titanic??? Awesome movie!!! ... Oh, she’s singing “Feliz Navidad” in Spanish! Special times, indeed. (At this point, I threw up. I’m still not sure if it was from the Red Bull, cheer or Celine Dion).