Album of the Month: Fender’s Holiday Mix
By Mike Duffy
For our December Album of the Month, we decided to compile our very own holiday mix.
Considering the amount of repetitive holiday music we hear every year beginning just as the gravy hits the Thanksgiving turkey, it is refreshing when artists come up with something new. So for the Fender Holiday Mix CD, we have compiled a playlist of completely original songs that will keep you on your toes – at least until you’ve spun them to death while avoiding endless renditions of “Jingle Bells” and “Sleigh Ride.”
The Killers – “I Feel It in My Bones”
The Killers’ seventh-consecutive Christmas single – “I Feel It in My Bones” – would be at home in a sneaky 1980s chase scene. Benefitting (RED), the track features Ryan Pardey not only providing vocal assistance, but also as a Santa bent on revenge.
If country is more your thing, The Voice judge Blake Shelton tabs Reba McEntire for a twangy duet called “Oklahoma Christmas.” It comes from Shelton’s new album, Cheers, It’s Christmas. The album definitely has country cred with lines like, “It don’t seem right that we don’t have a big slice of Aunt Bea’s pecan pie on our plate,” before making due with two “big ‘ol golden brown chicken-fried steaks.” Oklahoma Christmas indeed.
Colbie Caillat recorded Christmas in the Sand in the summer of 2012, and it shows in many of the songs she picked. “I was like, ‘Not everyone lives in the snow or cold places for Christmas, so why don’t we write some songs for them to be able to relate to what their Christmas is like,” she told Billboard. Her sunny dreams are clearly evident in “Christmas in the Sand,” where Caillat sings of seeing Santa catching some waves from the beach.
Thorn is typically known for her stint with Everything But the Girl, but her solo work deserves some recognition. With Tinsel and Lights, she delivers 10 covers of seasonal songs, but the title track is definitely a highlight, with her sensuous voice contemplating the light and dark parts of the holidays.
Perri burst on to the pop music scene with her smash 2011 hit “Jar of Hearts,” and with the release of A Very Merry Perri Christmas, she offers the brand new “Something about December.” Her soulful voice is hypnotizing when she croons the reassuring refrain: “Let all your memories hold you close no matter where you are/You are not alone because the ones you love are never far if Christmas is in your heart.” If you’re spending Christmas away from loved ones, this one will warm you up.
Sure, everyone knows “I Want You to Want Me” from Cheap Trick, but what if there was a holiday version of it? That’s just what the rock legends did for the 25th anniversary version of A Very Special Christmas, which benefits Special Olympics. The track is accompanied by a cute video that features the band as marionettes checking out a hot elf, but when Santa catches them, they all land on the naughty list.
Mr. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” has one original track on his first holiday collection, and “Red-Suited Super Man” is heavy on the saxophone and as swingin’ as ever. Stewart’s voice is unmistakable as he marvels at Santa’s ability to bring peace to us all during the hectic season – all while checking his hefty list twice.
Dropkick Murphys – “The Season’s Upon Us”
Quincy, Mass., punk rockers pour a little whiskey – or more like a lot of whiskey – into everyone’s eggnog with their “The Season’s Upon Us.” From the upcoming album Signed and Sealed in Blood (Jan. 8), the Dropkicks offer a glimpse into how crazy the holidays can be when family gets together. The clip below is a must-watch.
Lancaster, Penn., metalcore band August Burns Red has released holiday tracks before, but Sleddin’ Hill is their first full-length holiday offering. And what an interesting compilation of freshly-written tracks and takes on traditional sing-alongs. Except the album is all instrumental. One song that must be heard is the title track, which starts as a romp in the woods complete with a banjo to keep you company before their metal roots kick in towards the end of the journey.
Why? – the Berkley, Calif., indie brainchild of Jonathan “Yoni” Wolf – really hit the original nail on the head with “The Water You Walk.” While there are the familiar holiday sounds of a “Little Drummer Boy” snare and twinkling of bells, this track could get spins on regular alternative radio. “The Water You Walk” came out as the B-side to the band’s new 7” single for “Waterlines,” which is off 2012’s Mumps, etc.
Blink 182 – “Boxing Day”
The first cut off Blink 182’s upcoming EP Dogs Eating Dogs comes in the form of “Boxing Day,” a holiday song that is much less bombastic than the band’s typical fare. An acoustic guitar is driven along by a throaty bassline and a head-nodding drum beat. Get ready to sing along.