Finally! An Odd Christmas/Holiday CD: Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In
Imagine, if you will, a holiday-themed album that includes Neil Young, a song sung by Judas complaining about Jesus, female chipmunks, and Devo. Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In is a collection of holiday odds and ends, with the emphasis on odd. Included are songs that have not been previously released, live recording, new Christmas songs, and covers. As varied as the mix is, so is the quality of the recordings.
On a winter holiday album, which is more a shock—finding Neil Diamond on a track called “Les Trois Cloches” (Ben Keith, featuring Neil Young and Pegi Young) or Foxy Shazam singing “Heaven on Their Minds” (from Jesus Christ Superstar)? It’s hard to say. The inclusion of “Heaven on Their Minds” is a bit strange for an album celebrating a joyful season, but it’s done well and isn’t out of place when one considers some of the sad holiday songs included.
Broken hearts at Christmas have long been a theme, and Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In gives us “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” (The Dirt Drifters), “Baby Come Find Me at Christmas” (Rachel Yamagata), and “Last Christmas” (Stardeath and White Dwarfs), as well as the achingly longing “Home for Christmas” (Cavo).
The most delightful song in the collection is also the shortest—“Merry Something to You,” a multicultural holiday song in which Devo merrily sings “Believe what you want to, nothing’s really true.” Lasting little over a minute, it’s both jolly and goofy, Devo parodying Devo. Tegan and Sarah sing “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” with a choir of female chipmunks, and the vocals are much more bearable than the original—bearable to the point of enjoyable. The Ready Set does a nice cover of “Wonderful Christmastime,” not as heavily orchestrated as the McCartney original. Another enjoyable, interestingly rendered cover is “Merry Christmas Everybody” by Oasis.Continued on the next page