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Barenaked for the Holidays

3.9 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 5, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Barenaked Ladies celebrate the holiday season with their ninth major release, Barenaked For The Holidays. This release features many holiday favorites, including "Do They Know It's Christ- mas"(written by Bob Geldof )and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," performed with Sarah McLachlan, and seven original tracks including BNL's new holiday single "Elf's Lament," featuring Michael Bubli. Ed Robertson and Steven Page"s distinctive vocals give a fresh sound to traditional holiday classics. Barenaked For The Holidays is sure to be a holiday favorite that is fun,witty and dynamic.

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Few bands are better suited than the Barenaked Ladies to take obnoxious old Christmas jingles to an entirely new level of obnoxiousness. The Canadian pop group does a smack-up job on this generous collection, where they tackle children's relics like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," curious seasonal fare such as Band-Aid's Ethiopian charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas," and a handful of tongue-in-cheek originals that share the bookish humor of the band's hits like "One Week" and "Brian Wilson." Even the inclusion of three Hannukah songs doesn't raise the bar for reverence. The disc also includes collaborations with Sarah McLachlan and Michael Buble. --Aidin Vaziri
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 5, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Raisin Records
  • ASIN: B0002XED3A
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,469 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
BNL joins the tired ranks of groups to release Christmas albums. Of course, they do it in true BNL fashion, and are not content to simply record a bunch of slightly-warmed-over standards. Some of the songs are original compositions, such as "Christmastime (Oh Yeah)," and some are standards done up in BNL's jazzy, rock style. Still others sound as if they are being played on your Grandmother's old electric organ, complete with tacky drum machine. (I have to wonder if this last is a peek into their early Christmas traditions.) And lastly, there are some very off-the-wall tunes, like "Deck the Stills" and "Sleigh Ride" that pretty much sound like the guys screwing around.

All of the tracks are well-polished, and the entire album evokes a holiday spirit. So in that sense, this album is a huge success. I only subtract 1 star because if you're not a fan of the band, you won't be too interested in their interpretation of the standards, and the novelty songs will probably be a bit of a turn off. However, if you like BNL, this is a must-have, even if you skip a few of the songs after listening to them once.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Every year I get a Christmas CD for my collection. I like it to be different, new songs, new or unusual arrangements of old songs, and BNL fit the bill. They are their usual irreverent selves and their humor can be found in this CD as with all their others. I like their version of "Do They Know It's Christmas" and I know they were having fun recording "I Have a Little Dreidel".

As has been said before, if you are not a BNL fan, some of the songs on this CD will not be up your alley. But those of us who do enjoy them - will enjoy this collection of Christmas songs. I recommend you add it to your collection.
Comment 19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By C. Hill on November 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Barenaked Ladies' first Christmas album is pretty good. The best songs are the traditional carols that BNL have "sillied" up. For instance, in "Jingle Bells" they've changed one verse to the old kids' favorite: "Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..." There's also a funny rendition of "Deck the Halls" in which the only lyrics are "Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young" repeated over and over again. There is also a track in which the band sings "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. My only complaint is that the original songs written by BNL aren't as great as the traditional carols, and don't really sound much like Christmas songs. But all in all, the album has enough BNL fun to satisfy any fan of the band.
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Format: Audio CD
Some of these songs just make me laugh. If you're a BNL fan, I think you'll truly appreciate their antics on this album. If you're looking for traditional holiday favorites, you won't find them here. If you're sick to death of the traditional holiday favorites and want something that'll put a smile on your face, I suggest giving this one a shot.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My wife, being a Christmas Junkie, buys around 5 new Christmas albums each year. Starting mid-November, pretty much the only music in the house, in the car, in the portable CD player is christmas music. Since we're BNL fans, this was one of the ones she chose this year. It is very consistent with their musical style - the quirky semi-ad libbing kinda thing they do.

The problem (for us) is that the quirkiness is funny the first time you hear it on a Christmas album, but having heard it once, there's no reason to hear it again. For instance singing the Happy Birthday Song to Jesus would be great if you were at a concert and everyone sang along campily (and to be honest, our kids, 4 and 2, are still singing happy birthday Jesus). Or inserting the age-old "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an Egg."

This isn't an album that we are likely to listen to more than once a year (if at all in the future), and when you're paying that much for an album with so little replayability, it's somewhat discouraging. If you like to get a lot of mileage out of your albums, this probably isn't one to get. If you're looking for something to play for a college Christmas party where everyone will hear it once and get a real kick out of some of the silliness, then this album is probably for you.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of BNL since just before Maybe You Should Drive (I think I'm one of the 14 or so people in the world who loves that album), and have come to expect something different from the Ladies with each release. If they released the equivalent of Stunt 2, Stunt 3 and Stunt 4, for the sake of the masses and the band's popularity and commercial success, that schtick would get old really quick, and fans would criticize them for selling out.

So, while Maroon was a bit of a departure from Stunt, if you appreciate their experimentation with different sounds, it grows on you; it's truly a solid effort. Everything for Everyone, well, is half great/half mediocre (I'm resisting saying "terrible") -- rather, it seems like the band just threw something together to get their record label off their backs. (This is what I like to believe; the converse, that the band actually LIKED some of those songs and thought they were good, is too frightening to consider.)

So, here we have their holiday album. If Everything for Everyone seems thrown together, this project just reeks of a studio exec thinking "BNL's fame is waning; let's get them to release a 'Christmas' album right before the holidays, and squeeze as much money from their loyal fans as possible."

Folks, no matter how much I'd like to say otherwise, this CD is pretty bad. Now, I know I'm going to get a lot of "not a helpful review" comments from the BNL faithful, but they're not listening to the album. Listening to the entire thing is a chore; thankfully it's fairly short, so the pain is over quicker.

The best song on it -- "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" recorded backstage with Sarah McLachlan in 1996 -- is TRULY wonderful (hence the 2nd star).
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