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December 10, 2008 |

By TK Burton | Music | December 10, 2008 |

Welcome to another two-parter for Wednesday Music Reviews. We’re starting with a favorite of all of ours. Part two goes up at 5:00, EST.

AColbertChristmas_early.jpg Various Artists: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!
[Available via iTunes]

Did I know that Stephen Colbert was resurrecting the zombie-like visage of the Holiday Christmas Special with Well-Loved Celebrity Person Type? No. Am I a supreme loser? Debatable. But what I DO know is that I bought Stephen Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! and began to listen. While at work.

I had no idea what to expect, not having cable TV for the last two months, not knowing about Colbert’s Christmas, and having no preconceived notions. I only heard about it after the whole Kanye/iTunes competition (take that, squid brains)*. As I listened, I giggled a bit. The first track, “Another Christmas Song,” is pure Colbert: Egotistical, motivated by profits, and playing on the commercialism that plagues every facet of American life. It was a cute little take-off on a Bing Crosby-like, big band jazz era Christmas-y extravaganza, with the satirical, self-aware lyrics awash with legal jargon that have become Colbert’s calling card (“Copyright Stephen Colbert!”).

Then, to my extreme horror, an unfortunately familiar twang-lovin’ racist pop country singer began to croon. Toby Keith. (Honestly, there are no depths that Stephen will not explore in order to create a genuine experience, no?) Blessedly, “Have I Got a Present For You,” is Keith’s only solo representation on the album. I don’t care that he is satirically singing about the supposed War on Christmas, although it is slightly awesome that there are explosions. And yes, he goes for the old “separate ‘em from their heads” bit that I am having a hard time deciding whether he takes seriously or not. In fact, if this is his attempt to poke fun at himself, or even those who read too much into his lyrics, then by god, I say go for it, son! Make Memaw proud! There’s a war on Christmas! It’s under attack!! LIBERATE THEM FROM THEIR HEADS!!!! DECK THEIR EFFING HALLS!!!!


Luckily, the album takes a turn for better waters with Feist’s “Please Be Patient,” an ode to hold music. This version, sung to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard On High,” is the hold music for a line to angels. Due to increase prayer amounts / seraphim will have delays / Servicing thy prayer accounts / for the next five million days. It is, again, cute, but not laugh out loud funny.**

Until track four. This album’s sole worth lies in two songs on this album, and Willie Nelson’s “Little Dealer Boy” is one of them. Nelson, being one of the wise men but not blessed with their riches, offers the little baby jebus the only thing he can: “a plant that smokes more sweetly / than frankincense or myrrh.” I would quote the whole song here, but it really is worth it for you to listen for yourself. Colbert’s asides in between the lyrics — at least, I think it’s Colbert; he’s using a hilarious little-boy sounding voice that I can only guess is supposed to be the Little Dealer Boy himself — are all out hilarious. After the meh-ness of the first three tracks, it is impossible to not disturb those around you (in my case, angry co-workers butting face first into deadline pressures) by outbursts, guffaws, and the occasional slipped flatulence. (At one point I was sure I was impersonating a donkey, but thankfully I had my headphones on and couldn’t hear myself clearly. Phew! That would have been embarrassing!) I mean, yeah, it is not surprising at all to hear a song about weed from Willie Nelson, but if you have ever had the pleasure of enjoying Willie Nelson’s Christmas album as I have, then you would concede its innate hilarity (especially after hearing Willie sing the lyrics, “In them fields where they lay tending their sheep,” from his version of “The First Noel” which is its own version of hilarious already).

The other gem on this album took me completely by surprise. John Legend, buttery-voiced crooner and inherent cheeseball, actually does himself a solid with “Nutmeg,” a tune that I predict is already fairly popular with the Pajiba crowd. This bass-heavy soul tune is straight up, well, you decide:

“Nutmeg, sweet sweet nutmeg / on the 25th I’m gonna cover you with / my nutmeg, ooh my sweet brown nutmeg / girl don’t make me beg / I wanna know your egg (yes I do).”

Oh yes. Yes he does. He’s gonna rock you like a cradle. He wants you to lick it off his ladel. He’ll sprinkle your Christmas cream with his spice surpreme. Yes: His nutmeg. I mean, come on, we haven’t had a sexy Christmas song since “Santa Baby.” I think we are due. Listen to Johnny. It’s his nutmeg.



The only other really good listen on this album is Jon Stewart’s homage to the Festival of Lights, “Can I Interest You In Hannukah?” In his self-effacingly clever way, Jon Stewart attempts to tempt Stephen away from Christmas with latkes (What are those? Potato pancakes.), driedels (What are those? Wooden tops.), and candles (What are those? CANDLES!!!). And hey, we can ALWAYS use another Hannukah song, right, Sandler?

I’m guessing you don’t buy a lot of Christmas music, much less novelty Christmas music, but if you are having a holiday party this year and don’t want the typical musical fare, definitely check out A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! The songwriting is good and will blend in to a party atmosphere; only those listening carefully to the words will be in the corner, re-spiking their eggnog, smokin’ dank through an apple, and laughing like donkeys.

*[author’s note: See! I’m hip! I’m with it! Thanks Michael K! wink!]

** Did that iPod commericial ruin Feist for anyone else? Am I the only one that can’t hear her without feeling a huge sigh gather in my lungs?

***”You’ll be happy that you ate it, so just grab my seed and grate it. My nutmeg.”

Boo can be found in the corner, re-spiking her eggnog, smokin’ dank through an apple, and laughing like a donkey. Call her; she wants to spread her nutmeg on your Christmas tree. Or you can read more about her at Girl Named Boo

Pajiba Music

Merry Christmas. Shitter was full.

Wednesday New Releases, Part 1 / Boo

Music | December 10, 2008 |

TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

Name that Director | Cadillac Records Soundtrack Review

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