Marra said it best when she wrote: "I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to die when she hears Christmas music about the sweet baby Jesus and bells ringing and some reclusive, obese felon breaking into my house before Thanksgiving Day." She's write. Christmas Music is essentially the siamese twin of Christian Rock: you don't need talent or thought or creativity to be successful at it, since it's just shameless pandering to a group that will buy into just about anything as long as you share similar views. But fear not, for Saviour comes in the form of Stephen Colbert.
The album starts off promisingly with Colbert singing about cashing in on Christmas through music. He's a pretty convincing crooner, and the song could have very well been lifted right out of the sixties, if the lyrics didn't give it away. He chews the scenery in his duet with Jon Stewart, but it's ultimately the latter who steals the show with his flawed but wonderfully charming and earnest singing. And it doesn't hurt that his line about candles made me pee myself a little bit. If this doesn't replace Adam Sandler's auditory clusterfuck as the unofficial anthem of Hannukah, I will personally kick him in the matza balls.
I know most of you cringe at the idea of Toby Keith, but he's surprisingly self-aware on "Have I Got A Present For You", a send up of both PC-obsessed lefties and the Christmas-crazy Right. Sadly, Willie Nelson is the most forgettable of them all, as he settles for a pleasant, but too-easy song about toking with the three wise men. I'm sorry, but really? Haven't we gotten the "Willie does Weed" jokes out of our system?
As you would probably guess, Feist delivers the albums highlight, as an angel singing about how she'll answer your prayers...at least, once an authorized prayer technician is available. I would have offered the title to John Legend, who offers us an R&B ballad about his sweet, sweet Nutmeg, but Stephen's interjections feel out of place and just a bit grating.
As a certain someone once said, it's not Christmas until you hear Elvis. I'm sure he meant Presley, but since Elvis is freakin' worm food (oh don't give me that crap. Even if he did fake his own death, which he didn't, it's been thirty goddamn years, you can't honestly tell me he's still kicking), Elvis Costello fills the void nicely. His voice is a nice complement to Stephen's, raspy and hard where Stephen's smooth. And the show-stopping collaboration with him and the rest of the cast provides the one and only genuinely emotional track of the album.
So is it a Christmas album? You're goddamn right it is. But honestly, have you seen the scheduled line-up of album releases? Believe me, this will easily be the best album to come out for a long, LONG while.