Friday, December 11, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 167 - Maybe This Christmas - Various Artists

By: March

Album - Maybe This Christmas
Artist - Various Artists
Key Players - Various Artists
Produced By - Darin Haromon and Dave Holmes (Executive Producers)

Release Date - November 5, 2002

What caused me to blow off the dust? - It is the time of year for Christmas music.

Overview - A collection of "modern" and "alternative" artists doing their take on Christmas songs. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this album also goes towards "Toys For Tots".

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Broken down by song/artist and then thoughts.

"Winter Wonderland" - Phantom Planet. The band start the song off pretty mellow, but come the second verse the guitars come up more for a little more bite, but they revert back to a more mellow approach. The vocals are clean and the band is very tight. There is a short guitar solo before the band does the more "rocking" verse they had done before. "Maybe This Christmas" - Ron Sexsmith. A solo acoustic guitar with the deep voice of Sexsmith is a pretty take on the track. A single percussive instrument lays the tempo underneath before a more full band sound arrives with keyboards/bells. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Coldplay - arguably the biggest band on the collection, this is the version you hear on the radio is lead by piano and Chris Martin. Like them or not, this is a decent version that is pretty straight forward. "Green Sleeves" - Vanessa Carlton. Carlton somehow was tossed into some teen angst role and never really got a fair shake in my opinion. Trumpets and piano swell at the intro as she begins to sing..and sing she can do. She sings sort of hushed at the outset, but as the song grows she shows her vocal strength. It may feel like it is taking a bit to get rolling, but the pay out comes with one of the strongest modern takes on an old classic. "Blue Christmas" - Bright Eyes. Conor Oberst leads the band Bright Eyes through a pretty straight forward version. Oberst has a unique vocal presence. Not powerful, but fitting to the music that is with him. The are some pretty harmonies with a female backing vocalist as well. "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" - Sense Field. One of the bigger holiday songs that seems to be covered by so many. They keep this true to form with acoustic guitars and the vocals are sung with respect to the original. As the first verse ends it gets to be a little more "loud" but as noted, keeps with the original. "12/23/95" - Jimmy Eat World. An original track written by the band for the collection. It takes a bit to build with guitars bouncing off one another, but once they start up the guitars have a subtle ring to them. The bass and drums join in after a full verse, but are still deep in the mix. I find it to be a pretty song, but it never really goes anywhere. It could be that Jimmy Eat World are have some big hooks in their other tunes. "Rudolph" - Jack Johnson. The laid back guitar player runs through a fun version. Dig your toes into the sand and sip that fruity drink with the umbrella in'll get it. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan. With a rolling upright bass intro the boys of BNL are complimented with the harmonies of Sarah McLachlan. BNL take the first two verses before Sarah goes solo on the third. The song really shines when all parties sing in unison. The ultimate payoff is the final set of verse(s) and chorus. "Bizarre Christmas Incident" - Ben Folds. Folds leads a fun band of slide guitars and bass over a "bizarre" incident. Folds is no stranger to fun story telling has a rowdy good time singing this self penned track. "What a Year for a New Year" - Dan Wilson. Every time this cd is played at home and is on shuffle this tune comes on and I always seem to perk up and pay a little more attention. I am not sure what it is, but I think it lays in Wilsons strong voice. He makes you wait for it, over the first verses of guitar and piano, not really pushing things, but before you know it, he is really pushing the song. Surprised this song is not played more on commercial radio. It would be a perfect fit on most Adult Album Alternative stations. "Sweet Secret" - Neil Finn. Opening with piano (a trend of Christmas songs it seems) Finn leads the piano and string filled track that is musically "full" but seems to lack any real hook. Can't take away the talent here that is for sure. The collection wraps up with "Snow" by Loreena McKennitt. McKennitt has a strong, operatic at times vocal ability. Booming and powerful at times is kept in check with piano and harp.

FDF Overall Take - Most Christmas music I am hit or miss on. I think many people are but since it (used to) be a short amount of time to hear the songs they sort of deal with it. Now days you are sorting your kids Halloween goodie bag to Christmas music on the radio. Not a bad collection for the money, and it offers something new to your collection. What is also nice is most of the versions are pretty much true to form, no faster/slower than the"original" just has each artists sound pasted on to it.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Mp3's have been removed:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

The tracks were taken from "Maybe this Christmas" which you can buy here.

Oh yeah..don't forget this classic Christmas tune as well.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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