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Various - Taste of Christmas (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Taste of ChristmasTaste of Christmas (2005)
Warcon Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 1.5


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Let's avoid the debate on what makes a compilation of so-called "punk" bands doing Christmas songs ironic or not, because it'll only lead to the consequential argument of Christian punk and how it can and does prevail in a community that, at least at some time, questions the power and stance of reli.
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Let's avoid the debate on what makes a compilation of so-called "punk" bands doing Christmas songs ironic or not, because it'll only lead to the consequential argument of Christian punk and how it can and does prevail in a community that, at least at some time, questions the power and stance of religion altogether. This is a compilation of Christmas songs performed by newer "post-hardcore" and most certainly quotation-marked "emo" bands in the independent music community, and that's what it should be criticized as. This will now instead lead to one other small problem; I have pre-determined opinions on nearly every band that makes up the track listing of Taste of Christmas, one of Warcon Records' freshest releases, and many of them are admittedly not extremely positive. But even brushing aside the admitted bias here, I still draw the continuous conclusion that this is a mostly improperly sequenced, hardly festive parody of Christmas songs that are barely fun and not nearly cheery.

Things kick off with a standout. Street Drum Corps, made up of several very street punk-looking figures who play random items (garbage can lids, cat litter bins, pockets of change, kitchen sinks too I'm sure) collaborate with the Used's Bert McCracken to cover John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)." The lyrical content is certainly timeless and that's proved in the present course of the presidential administration, which makes the track all the more powerful. McCracken's awfully nasal voice is most definitely a detracting factor, but the song overall is relatively faithful. Its mid-tempo stomp is a bit slow to begin the compilation however, and would likely have been best left to close the album or at least provide a powerful interlude. The makers of Taste of Christmas carry on with this thought completely void in their minds as Funeral for a Friend's somewhat lethargic "Miracle of Christmas" comes next, leaving the compilation flat-footed yet again.

Things don't progress much from FFAF's offering. Skindred's "Jungle Bells" is a horrible reggae-rap-metal stopover, and then we stumble over TOC's worst sequencing problem. The Used is placed smack dab at track 4, giving the distance between McCracken sung tracks a whopping 2 songs. A listener can only take so much; but in all seriousness, these two should have been spread out much, much farther apart because of the vocalist factor.

The Smashup's Social Distortion-meets-mascara-metal is the sole "punk" ambassador here, and their song, "Coventry Carol," is comparatively good. Amped provide the fifth-rate MxPx rendition of "We Three Kings." Emery at least to attempt to give the disc some seasonal character with the softly jingling bells and gentle piano of "The Last Christmas;" it's not a hundred percent engaging, but it's packed with "living room and a fireplace"-style imagery in its narration and it at least aims for some sort of festive flavor unlike most of its album companions.

The third quarter is where it gets awfully slow-paced and downright boring. My American Heart's unintentionally funny rendition of the classic "First Noel" sounds just like what it is: A bunch of nü-emo kids doing an X-mas song. The cringeworthy falsetto wailing in Like Yesterday's "We Might Be Alone Tonight" ballad sounds like a coked-up Juliana Theory in a homeless shelter sipping liquored hot chocolate. Bleed the Dream snore through "No Smiles on Christmas," and Versus the World do a painstakingly dragged out track in "Blue and Cold," which sounds just like the same damn song before it with the acoustic guitars and overdramatic string arrangement in the background.

The most interesting part of the disc, for better or worse, is a three-track tongue-in-cheek bonanza -- at least, it's what the trio comes off as -- towards its end. BEDlight for BLUE Eyes' "Christmas Song" is HILARIOUS. It will have you laughing from front to back, but I doubt if it's fully meant to be so hysterical. As its chorus states, the song is a tale of Christmas in Berkeley Heights (read: bro-down holiday party while a snowstorm occurs), and contains the band's trademark over-the-top, ridiculously theatrical lead vocals, awkward swagger, and hair metal guitar play. The track culminates with the party apartment's power going off and the group of people telling the Nutcracker story before being cut off with a knock at the door. You'll hear several voices speculate who it is (including the choice line of "Bro, I think I sh*t my pants"), before the music is cut off with our hero declaring in an egregiously New Yawk drawl "Ho ho ho b'otches! I got the Bacawdi!" A celebartion ensues, and if your gut isn't aching by now, you do not have a sense of humor. Or you just may enjoy BFBE on a regular basis. Gatsbys American Dream step up to the plate next and hit a triple with "Saint Nicholas," an obviously jokey power-metal track laden with keyboard licks and grandstanding vocals from Nic Newsham; it's cool, and perhaps the best TOC has to offer, but a bit un-Christmas-like aside from the holiday's namedrop and an overall clear similarity to Reggie and the Full Effect. From First to Last end this intriguing trilogy with "Christmassacre," which is also meant to be tongue-in-cheek apparently (see the chorus hook of "Santa's going to diiiie! Santa's going to diiiie!"). But aren't they normally a double bass, scream-and-whiny-melodic-vocal-driven faux-metal wannabe act on a normal basis anyway?

Opiate for the Masses state it best with the ridiculous, Disney orchestral touches of the nü-metal/industrial "Christmas Evel." This is the compilation's problems in a nutshell: It's awkwardly tongue-in-cheek, if that even, not at all fun, nowhere near festive, and just plain bad. If this is just a "taste" of Christmas, I'd hit up your local airlines for some holiday shopping; I hear barf bags are all the rage.

STREAM
Taste of Christmas

VIDEO
Street Drum Corps featuring Bert McCracken - "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" [Quicktime / Windows Media]

E-CARD

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
William_David (December 25, 2005)

Great review. I actually reviewed this for my college paper a couple weeks back, and had a very similar line about Amped and their MXPX knock-off sound. This album is worthless, as I described it, possibly the only thing worse than getting coal this Christmas.

Anonymous (December 21, 2005)

this cd makes me wanna slit ma wrists...fuk! Wheres the Frank Senatra when you need it!

Anonymous (December 5, 2005)

I

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

"Also, this new drum corp thing? Terrible. Way to ruin a great song."

the original was not a great song... it is boring, melodramatic, and way too repetitive. i think the creativity of the drum corps band is a hell of a lot better... though i can't say it is a good song even then.

as for the rest of the album... i think that it, for the most part, is a nice change from the typical christmas album, which is a cover of the same crap year after year. i won't lie, there are songs i skip right over on this CD, but i do like many of the songs... especially the Bedlight song... it's upeat and fun.

and think about it... you all are being so hard on this CD... Chirstmas songs have never been good to begin with... they don't have to be, people only listen to them once a year.

Anonymous (November 28, 2005)

Timmehh!!!

localh (November 12, 2005)

it's christmas time for my penis rules!

Anonymous (November 12, 2005)

is it just me, or does bert mccracken look like jack black with down-syndrome?

rkl (November 12, 2005)

there was a punk rock christmas album that came out a few years ago, it was pretty good.
and of course, the vandals christmas album
this? see score

jamespastepunk (November 12, 2005)

First: Christmas does not taste like shitty screamo.

Second: Joe Escalante is the punk rock version of Jack Thompson.

iheartadam (November 11, 2005)

Hey guys, Oi to the World rules.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

This entire album is one big squishy abortion.

-Ken

steveman (November 11, 2005)

"The Bright Eyes Christmas Album is awesome. Sure I'll get flamed for saying that, but it is. Sorry punx."

Agreed. By far the best Christmas CD in my house.
Fuck Kenny G.

Also, this new drum corp thing? Terrible. Way to ruin a great song.

Christmas In Hollis is the only good song that band has ever recorded.

Bosco (November 11, 2005)

"faintly falling ashes is more than simply "decent", and i don't know if i would classify it generally as a christmas song.

either way, half of what you said makes a little bit of sense."

In the liner notes for Cocktails and Dreams, Chris says that he wanted to write a Christmas song that he wouldn't hate. I can't remember exactly what was said, but it's definitely a holiday-themed song that doesn't suck ass.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

i think it's times like this when we take the vandal's christmas album for granted.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

"what the fuck kind of homosexuelle name is bert mccracken"

you're not funny, and you can't even fucking spell, so shut the fuck up.

"Christmas isn't punk."

hahaha

I don't even need to hear any of this piece of flaming fucking shit on a disc. Nearly every one of these bands is fucking insanely horrible and should not be making music. Gatsby is about the only decent one.

-phdecontrol

xblakeyoung (November 11, 2005)

this makes me fucking hate christmas

stevejonestherealbones (November 11, 2005)

i wrote a review for this that was disgustingly aweful. almost embarrassing if i was one to get embarrassed about internet shit written by "jones the bones"

but i think i scored it even lower.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

skolarx (November 11, 2005)

guess its about time to break out christmas in hollis, which is the best x-mas song ever, certainly lightyears beyond anything here

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

i agree, the Bright Eyes xmas album is really awesome.

RondoMondo (November 11, 2005)

From First to Last's song is so freakin' hilarious. It's well done. On the other hand BEDlight might be the worst band to ever come out with music in the past 200 years.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

The Bright Eyes Christmas Album is awesome. Sure I'll get flamed for saying that, but it is. Sorry punx.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

i actually think the bleed the dream song is a good song.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

what the fuck kind of homosexuelle name is bert mccracken

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

Christmas isn't punk.

ryanbolger (November 11, 2005)

faintly falling ashes is more than simply "decent", and i don't know if i would classify it generally as a christmas song.

either way, half of what you said makes a little bit of sense.

Bosco (November 11, 2005)

The only decent Christmas song ever is Faintly Falling Ashes by The Lawrence Arms. Particularly the acoustic version at the end of Ghost Stories.

thirtyseconds (November 11, 2005)

Great review Brian. Do Emo kids actually celebrate Christmas?

kirbypuckett (November 11, 2005)

Sensefield already did the best cover of "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" that I ever need.

Thrice did too, it's pretty good.

I'll upload all the Christmas songs when the time nears, aslong as the Vandals don't try to sue us again.

Got this Bedlight For Blue Eyes song is terrrrrrrible.

- Kirby

Scruffy (November 11, 2005)

Sensefield already did the best cover of "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" that I ever need.

Godfather (November 11, 2005)

my favorite christmas song is pearl jam's let me sleep

lushj (November 11, 2005)

Wow, this album is amazingly horrible. Even the "tongue-in-cheek" songs are really painful. Of course, I hate HATE HATE earnestly sung Christmas music, even if it's slightly "edgy." Give me MDC's "Black Christmas" Fear "Fuck X-Mas" or Kinks/Creamers "Father Christmas" any day- even in late December- over any of these. Why oh why did I bother wasting my computer's battery on streaming those songs?

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

That video is just plain ridiculous. If I didn't know any better...I would think its just a big joke.

iheartadam (November 11, 2005)

Is Oi to the World on here? I luv Gwen.

Dante3000 (November 11, 2005)

I'd have to say the little of this I've heard is not impressive.
The murder of the first track by Bert and Bring on da Noise Bring on da Punk was possibly enough to make a Lenon fan kill themselves.
Truly a taste of Crapmas.
-Dante

thefirstfive (November 11, 2005)

this has a few really good songs on it. I hate most of From First to Lasts stuff but for some reason I love all the christmas songs they've recorded. Also the Gatsbys song is amazing. not much else to write home about, though the we three kings cover is fun pop punk.

etwiels88 (November 11, 2005)

The Gatsby and FFTL songs are the only ones worth hearing off this. Neither are that great either.

Anonymous (November 11, 2005)

the gatsbys song on this album is fucking awesome, the rest of the album is trash

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