My office is very into holiday music. We’ve been steadily rotating through the “Indie Holiday” “Joey Ramone Holiday” “Bruce Springsteen Holiday” and “Hanukkah” Pandora stations for the past two weeks (I do not recommend the Hanukkah station) (I’m half-Jewish, it just irrefutably sucks, believe me). In the interest of remaining spirited while coping with the fact that I was BORN TO ROCK, I have downloaded the MONSTER BALLADS XMAS and will henceforth review it track by track as I listen through my headphones.
1) Skid Row – Jingle Bells
This is an unimaginably bad way to start this album, or any album for that matter. Sebastian Bach sounds like Mike Ness from Social Distortion (not in a good way) and the production is bottom-of-the-barrel. In spite of the fact that this issue of Rolling Stone:
is a fixture in our bathroom reading pile, I truly despise this.
2. Winger – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
This track is actually not that bad, being approximately what I would expect from a compilation called “Monster Ballads Xmas”. It is a ballad, it qualifies as “monster” due to an ongoing chorus of wailing guitars, and it repeats the word “Christmas” many times over. Also, Google.com—maybe you’ve heard of it—taught me that this is a John Lennon cover! I like John Lennon. Bravo, Winger. Also love their look, especially the denim shirt knotted just sub-navel:
3. Jani Lane – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
RIP, Jani Lane. Recently laid to rest after years of being tormented by the fact that he wrote and would forever be known by “Cherry Pie”, Lane deserves a little pour-out of the cheapest vodka that you can find. That said, this song is fucking terrible and he sounds like a poor man’s Joey Ramone at a karaoke bar.
4. Twisted Sister with Lita Ford – I’ll Be Home for Christmas
This ditty really delivers. Lita Ford lends her pipes with enthusiasm and there’s a solid 1-minute guitar solo that really evokes snow peacefully falling on conifers while you gather round the fire with loved ones. I tried to put on the Twisted Sister holiday Pandora station after playing this but my coworkers made me turn it off after less than 30 seconds.
5. Queensryche – White Christmas
Opens with a sick little riff that sounds nothing like White Christmas as you know it. The vocals are disgusting, like your drunk uncle looking for attention towards the end of your cousin’s wedding as everyone solemnly tries to convince him to cab it home.
6. LA Guns – Run Rudolph Run
Lemmy from Motorhead does a way better version of this song, so I don’t feel I’m able to judge it fairly. It’s okay, but it’s not Lemmy. No one else could ever be Lemmy.
7. Firehouse – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
Some nice guitar effects in the intro, adding a sort of “stadium rock” vibe. Some tickly little guitar pickage between verses. I commend their efforts to rock. Fucking boring, though.
8. Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas
I am familiar with neither this band nor this song. Opening lyrics “I’ve been a naughty boy / I didn’t get a toy.” This is literally unlistenable, I had to change it before it even got to the chorus to avoid throwing the poinsettia on my desk against the wall.
9. Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas
In case you were wondering, Tom Keifer is the dude from Cinderella. He’s very pretty.
I wish that my makeup could look as nice as his, but his fake vibrato is pretty awful. Kind of like Steven Tyler but with the musical aesthetic of like 1992. I’m not convinced that he’s having a blue Christmas.
10. Nelson – Jingle Bell Rock
Jingle hell rock.
11. Faster Pussycat – Silent Night
HAHAHAHA! For some reason FP decided to interpret Silent Night through a Marilyn Manson-esque industrial wasteland filter. This sounds like Nine Inch Nails playing in a children’s choir! I love it! A+++
12. Dokken – Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Starts off with a sweet little piano melody, but don’t be fooled! Dokken is here to show you that the holidays are as hard as the frozen lake that you skate on until you accidentally wander onto some thin ice and die a miserable flailing death while your internal organs shut down from hypothermia. Oopsy!
13. Enuff Znuff – Happy Holiday
I appreciate the audacity that they adopted when naming their musical project. Truly self-flagellating. Love this track—definitely needs a video of some babes in Santa bikinis cruising in a Lamborghini and then making out underneath some mistletoe in front of a roaring fireplace. HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS BAND? I LOVE THIS.
14. Stryper – Winter Wonderland
I think this was recorded live, which rules because that means that hundreds or possibly thousands of people somewhere chose to see Stryper on Christmas. It sounds about a thousand times better than many of the previous tracks on this godforsaken compilation, so kudos for that. Surprisingly rollicking and warm fuzzies-inducing.
15. Billy Idol – Christmas Love
Acoustic. Eww. And I love Billy Idol, but Billy Idol should not be acoustic. And he sounds all warbly, like a bad version of how Johnny Cash sounded when he got really old and was all about to die and stuff. But you know what? In the spirit of Christmas, I forgive Billy Idol, because this:
Peace on Earth, man. Whatever.
Download here to fill your home with Christmas cheer—until your roommates scream at you to turn it off.
originally posted on Deaf Forever, 12.20.11