LUV – I genuinely have a thing for Christmas albums. I genuinely appreciate the sheer determination that must go into making them. These people have made a full recorded album solely dedicated to one thing they quite like. It’s insane. It’s like making an entire album about September 17th, or how handy the pens they give out at marketing conferences are.
And yet I collect Christmas albums with a devotion that borders on the deranged. The Phil Spector Christmas album. The James Brown Christmas album. The Mel Blanc Christmas album. The Low Christmas album. The Rotary Connection Christmas album. So many hundreds of Christmas albums, all on my iPod where they’ll arbitrarily ambush me in June until their pleasant festive effect has completely eroded and I end up spending Christmas alone in the dark with my fists clenched. Christmas!
– Stuart Heritage
HAT – When pondering the merits or otherwise of Christmas albums, the case of Scott Weiland should be considered the non plus ultra, if non plus ultra means what I think it means.
Here was a chap who had scaled the heights of rock stardom with the grunge Shed Seven, Stone Temple Pilots. Then the usual post-success nonsense happened – drugs, intra-band fall-outs, etc.
Skip forward to 2011 and Scott Weiland wanted to demonstrate that he was back to his best. That’s when this happened:
Unable to write his own songs, Scott took a bunch of well-loved Christmas classics and figuratively emptied his bowels all over them. Which is what always happens.
Nobody is going to better Phil Spector’s Christmas album. Nobody. Nobodynobodynobody. And in fact, its power is so great that when it comes to Christmas, it has reversed musical evolution. Scott Weiland sounds like he’s unlearned how to emit basic human sounds, as if he’s regressing into some prehistoric swamp with a microphone taped to his gills. It’s been said more than once that anyone who attempts to cover Winter Wonderland sounds almost exactly like a pterodactyl.
If artists continue to try and interpret these classics, within a few short years they will all just sound the same: like the apocalyptic din of a planet coming to life, as smoking meteors crash into its freshly-hewn topography and furious, deafening storms rage mercilessly for centuries. My Bloody Valentine fans will love it, of course.
– Stuart Waterman