Music News

Secrete Santas

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Just look at the cover and see the crazed way he's holding a silver ball that bears a striking resemblance to the Orb from the film Sleeper. Look closely at the cover and see the way it combines with his shiny belt buckle to form a ghoulish android skull.

Like Michael Jackson, Brooks, the reigning King of Mixed Media signals, wants to be a regular guy. But like most people with multiple personalities, he still ends up looking crazy. At least he didn't refer to himself in the third person again. Even Santa doesn't do that!

Sin #2: More Greed

The package on The Magic of Christmas clearly denotes "1999 First Edition," which means premeditated deletion from Brooks' back catalogue. Plus he's included two songs from his last deleted Xmas album, Beyond the Season. Maybe the next deluxe edition will come packaged with that groovy Orb!

Sin #3: Impersonating Der Bingle

After getting through an entire pass of "White Christmas," Garth can't resist the urge to sing ". . . be white" just like Bing Crosby. Instead, he winds up sounding like Elvis. At least Garth has the belt buckle to pull that off.

The Jimi Hendrix Estate (•• 2 burning lumps of coal)

Jimi Hendrix: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Sin #1: Exhuming Yet Another Dead Entertainer
Sin #2: Ignoring Dead Guy's Wishes

This medley of "Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne" is by no means a finished master from the Voodoo Chile, but a direct-to-two-track rehearsal tape with plenty of flubbed notes, tape dropouts and a quick snippet of "Taps" -- hardly holiday fare. To pad out the set, the Experience Hendrix elves have dug out "Three Little Bears," a 1968 outtake from Hendrix's posthumously released 1972 album War Heroes -- which features Jimi audibly saying "Man, I really don't feel like going through with this. This is really silly." This holiday horror would've fetched more coal, but it's only a CD single. Just thank God there were no camcorders in the '50s or we'd probably be experiencing full-length video releases of James Marshall Hendrix singing in his grade-school Christmas pageant.

The Sinatra Family (•••• 4 coo-coo lumps of coal)
The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas
(DGC Classics)
Sin #1: Exhuming Yet Another Dead Entertainer
Sin #2: Letting Tina Sing

In keeping with Fatherless Christmas, we have the reissue of the 1969 curio The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas. And you thought Dean Martin was the only swinger surrounded by Golddiggers!

The Sinatras are pressing this carnage on 24 karat gold for the privilege of hearing every nuance of Daddy Chairman singing crummy carols with Frank Jr., Nancy . . . and Tina, who's not listed as a singer on the credits. It's an accurate omission, especially when you hear her alternately flat and sharp warbling of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," complete with a chilling "sock it to 'em, Santa" on the tag. Nelson Riddle and the orchestra must've gotten seasick swaying back and forth trying to keep up with Tina's wild pitches. Why couldn't Frank just hire one of his goombahs to kill this song?

Sin #3: Letting Tina Sing

Are they sure she's not adopted?

Sin #4: Letting Nancy Sing Depressing Carols

Nancy's no Maria Callas, either, but when she's on the go-go, who cares? However, movin' with Nancy isn't much fun when she's moaning the holiday blues on "It's Such a Lonely Time of Year." This is the kind of holiday fare that will send people wrapping their cars around telephone poles for warmth. One spin will ensure you'll never have another impure thought about Nancy or her boots ever again. On the plus side, the whole family sings on the Cahn-Van Heusen obscurity "I Wouldn't Trade Christmas." You'll like the rat-friggin-pack way Frank and family sing about "the fun and the folly and all of that jolly jazz," but you'll be spooked by how much Frank Jr. sounds like Harry Connick Jr.

Jewel (•• 2 very large, round and firm lumps of coal)
Joy: A Holiday Collection

Sin #1: Impersonating a Gospel Singer

Jewel stretches her bad bout of congestion over 12 traditional carols. The same delusional thinking that convinced her she was a poet is facilitating her strange attempt at singing Mahalia Jackson staples like "Go Tell It on the Mountain." Here, she thankfully mangles one of her rotten songs, a Christmas version of the radio hit "Hands." Her hands are small, I know. But lucky they're not mine, 'cause I would be busy trying to stop this song from leaving her throat. Why couldn't Sean Penn just have left her in that urinal? And without any paper so she couldn't escape!

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic