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Maybe This Christmas

various artists

Nettwerk America

For Christmas this year, forget about buying that special hip someone in your life another black mock turtleneck or run-of-the-mill Interpol t-shirt. Instead, share the joy of the holiday season indie style! That's right, this 13-track sampler features a handful of traditional and not-so-traditional seasonal tunes by some of indie's best songsters doing renditions that even your crusty old gram-pappy will like.

When the bands take the easy path, the result is bah-humbug. Coldplay's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is Perry Como by way of Harry Connick, Jr. Vanessa Carlton's "Greensleeves" is a bit too fey. And it was probably a mistake closing with Canadian pan-Celtic artist Loreena McKennitt's operatic "Snow."

That's about it for the misses.

Highlights include Dan Wilson of Semisonic doing the original, "What a Year for a New Year," destined to be included on a ton of mix tapes; Bright Eyes' countrified version of Elvis' "Blue Christmas"; Jimmy Eat World's quiet, chiming "12/23/95"; and Neil Finn's Beatle-easque original "Sweet Secret Peace."

There is also an annoying Ben Folds original and a thoroughly cheesy Barenaked Ladies w/Sarah McLachlin rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," both probably included for crowd appeal.

Christmas CDs are generally a tough sell to begin with because, really, who wants to hear Jack Johnson singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in July? On the other hand, something like this is always cool to pull out for the annual holiday party, plus a portion of the proceeds go to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted Nov. 22, 2002. Copyright 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Rating: Yes

Obligatory pull-quote: "Some of indie's best songsters doing renditions that even your crusty old gram-pappy will like."


Track listing:

Phantom Planet -- Winter Wonderland
Ron Sexsmith -- Maybe This Christmas
Coldplay -- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Vanessa Carlton -- Greensleeves
Bright Eyes -- Blue Christmas
Sense Field -- Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
Jimmy Eat World -- 12/23/95
Jack Johnson -- Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Barenaked Ladies -- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (with Sarah McLachlan)
Ben Folds -- Bizarre Christmas Incident
Dan Wilson -- What A Year For A New Year
Neil Finn -- Sweet Secret Peace
Loreena McKennitt -- Snow