The selection of songs is good, the arrangements are wonderful. Your favorite artist adds his unmistakable touch. You love Christmas music and have hundreds of CDs by a wide variety of artists. But do you ever ask yourself why you continue to buy more? Answer: “I love the individual voices and arrangements.” But the songs are the same…every year! And so are the “individual voices and arrangements!” It just your favorite artist adding another bell and whistle to a rehashed arrangement.
Well this time around you may be right. It looks like the “individual voices and arrangements” thing is going to stick for the first time. And no thanks to Susan Boyle, Kelly Clarkson, Barbra Streisand (yes, again!), Martina MacBride, Neil Diamond, Il Volo, Johnny Mathis, Mary J Blige, The Piano Guys…and the list for the 2013 Christmas music releases is endless, and I could go on forever. So I’ll just give you the news straight off, about whose made the Xmas album with the best and most original “individual voices and arrangements”. It’s the Hollywood Drunks! Yes, them!
I know that you already knew! But I just wanted to confirm the news, that Galen Shostac (Keys), Sebastian Sheehan (Drums and Percussion), Mark Drews (Bass), Lloyd Stuart Casson (Guitars, Bass, Vocals, Keys) and Eric Winzenried (Vox), together better known as Hollywood Drunks, have done it. They have released the album Hollywood Drunks Christmas. The album was produced by Lloyd Stuart Casson, Eric Winzenried, and Jason Roberts, except “Winter Wonderland” which was produced by
Sebastian Sheehan, Eric Winzenried, and Lloyd Stuar Casson.
I hate Christmas music so much, I find it tough just spelling out the song titles, never mind listening to the tunes. However my job dictates that I have to do both, rather explicitly. So I press play, lo and behold (ho ho ho!), the first track that jumps up at me, of the available eleven, is “Looks Like Christmas”. Well it certainly doesn’t sound like it. This is more like Iggy Pop & The Stooges with a little more groove.
I must have the albums mixed up, I’m thinking, so I hit track two. The title leaves no doubt. It’s the classic, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. No…it’s UB40 slipping some sweet melodies and harmonies into their well-known reggae rhythms. Wow! By the third track, “Do You Hear What I Hear”, I’m funking, slipping and sliding across the lounge floor, with the stereo at peak volume. Bear in mind that I’ve never ever gotten past track two of any Christmas album to date!
The reviewer Spokesman Speaks said, “This might be the best Christmas cd release of the past decade…” I beg to differ; I think Spokesman Speaks is totally wrong. With all due respect, and modestly speaking Hollywood Drunks Christmas might be the best Christmas cd release ever…period!
Out of the window go the melancholic and melodramatic, mistletoe musical arrangements and so too does the sugar coated fruitcake voices that are normally delivering this genre. In come the Hollywood Drunks with their urban, pop, rock, reggae, and alternative sounds. And boy do they rock, from “The First Noel” through to “Carol Of The Bells” and everything else before it!
Over and above the hype folks, Hollywood Drunks Christmas does, indeed, capture a very nice range of styles and sounds, to just take away enough of that ‘over-sweetened’ taste normally associated with Christmas music. Leaving you light-hearted and totally refreshed.
The album is definitely not something I was expecting to hear when I first pressed play. All of the songs have a contemporary pop-rock-reggae feel to them, mixed with the traditional lyrics and tunes that most people are familiar with. I found these new arrangements to be refreshing and unique, and is now probably the only way I’ll be able to appreciate Christmas songs from here on out.
Here is the tracklist, if you’re aching to see the album contents:
1. Looks Like Christmas
2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3. Do You Hear What I Hear
4. We Need a Little Christmas
5. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
6. Winter Wonderland
7. Let It Snow
8. We Three Kings of Orient Are
9. Here Comes Santa Claus
10. The First Noel
11. Carol of the Bells
If you’re after something that’s reflecting Prayer/Praise music or traditional hymns found in a church setting, this is definitely not for you. But if you’re after a combination of time-honored Christmas songs mixed with contemporary styles in an eclectic and original way, then this will knock you off your feet.
It’s a question of ‘old-school’ and ‘new-school’. The Hollywood Drunks have just introduced us to ‘new-school’ Christmas songs. Now you can really have yourself a merry little Christmas!
OFFICIAL LINKS & WEBSITES: