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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2012
I'm finding myself in the Christmas spirit already due to a pair of albums just released. Katharine Jenkins just released a Christmas album that is lovely and traditional, with a big orchestra and an elegant feel. That album is a wonderful accompaniement to night time, but I'm gonna need something peppier to listen to as I decorate the tree with the kids, and Holidays Rule fits that bill perfectly. Starting off with a really fun (I know, I went there) rendition of Sleigh Ride by (you guessed it) Fun., the album is full of original and delightful versions of Christmas classics. McCartney's "The Christmas Song" is such a pleasure--his voice sounds 30 years younger. "Green Grows the Holly" is done by Calexico (one of my fave bands), and Holly Golightly reminds us again why she is so incredible with her perfect rendition of "That's What I Want for Christmas". If you want to enjoy Christmas tunes you know in some delightful arrangements (including the marvellous "Wonderful Christmastime" by the Shins), then pick this album up. Great fun, good spirit. Simply having a Wonderful Christmastime.
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on November 3, 2012
The tunes are uplifting and not your usual Christmas music. Honestly, I am in my early 60's & am not familiar with all the performers but LOVE them all. "Santa Bring my baby back to me" by Eleanor Friedberger is my favorite. The Shins & Heartless Bastards also great groups. Buy this CD now. Your mood will brighten after listening to this conglomerate of new artists (& some not so new-Paul McCartney for one).
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"Holidays Rule" is a great collection with different artists pumping freshness into familiar holiday favorites. Fun's version of the Leroy Anderson classic "Sleigh Ride" sails on a great orchestral arrangement with a pumping beat. The Shins do a smashing job on Paul McCartney's now-classic "Wonderful Christmastime" with the vocals working well with the peppy beat that drives the track, "The party's on, the spirit's up; We're here tonight & that's enough!" Rufus Wainwright puts on his best croon with his and Sharon Van Etten's voices blending seductively over the piano arrangement on "Baby, It's Cold Outside." I'd read a critical review about Paul McCartney's recording of "The Christmas Song" as being too traditional and lacking energy. While it is a laid-back track, I find Paul's vocals warm and endearing. Irma Thomas totally riveted my attention when "May Ev'ry Day Be Christmas" came on during my first play of this set. Irma has such a lovely powerful voice that has just a tinge of wear that makes a line like "May every day be a happy day," sound like it's coming from one who has done a lot of living. Gorgeous! Chris Thiel who was a prominent part of Nickel Creek does a stunning version on "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" with the bluegrass touches only adding to the elegance of the track and Chris' vocals embracing this lovely melody. Other tracks like the Civil Wars' contribution and that of AgesandAges are also great. This is an excellent holiday collection, well worth adding to your holiday mix! Merry Christmas! Enjoy!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 17, 2012
It's not even Thanksgiving and I'm already playing this "Holiday" CD a lot! That says something. Producers Sara Matarazzo and Chris Funk (love Chris' last name for a MUSIC producer!) have compiled 17 original performances from Rock, Pop, Singer-songwriter, folk and jazz artists in the wonderfully tuneful album. They are all standards but with new interpretations. What's great is that those coming for the exclusive Paul McCartney track ("The Christmas Song") will discover NOLa's legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band (50 years and still making great music!)WITH Irma Thomas! ("May Every Day Be Christmas Day") and The Heartless Bastards ("Blue Christmas"). The Fruit Bats, Y La Bamba and AgesandAges were new groups for me. Even the closer, "Auld Lang Syne", by pop violinist Andrew Bird, has a jazz swing feel (with a bit of bluegrass mixed in.)

Another review complained that the CD is called "Holidays Rule" in the US while the CD is called "Christmas Rules" in the UK. The former title makes more sense. After all "What are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and "Baby It's Cold Outside?" are NOT Christmas songs. The first is a secular holiday song and the latter is a Winter Song - never mentioning a holiday. And the aforementioned "Auld Lang Syne" track is for December 31st around the world.

This one is gonna be played a lot this year in my house!

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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on December 5, 2012
i really like the covers done by today's indie bands & even one by Paul McCartney. it's a good album if you're tired of hearing the same old songs every holiday season.
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on December 5, 2012
Of course, some of this album is very fine - unfortunately, it starts off with two of the worst tracks on the album, fun.'s atrociously noisy "Sleigh Ride" and The Shins' butchering of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime", a song many people already consider one of the worst Christmas songs ever. I'm not one of them, and I like the Shins a lot, but man, they blew this one. That said, the rest of the album has at least a few gems. Sir Paul himself gives us a loungy but warm take on "The Christmas Song", and Rufus Wainwright and Sharon van Etten do one of the best renditions I've heard yet of "Baby It's Cold Outside". The Civil Wars' "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" gave me goosebumps, and R&B legend Irma Thomas shines on "May Ev'ry Day Be Christmas". But the real revelation for me was Calexico's "Green Grows the Holly" - what an absolutely gorgeous song. The rest is pretty good, from Andrew Bird's interesting interpretation of "Auld Lang Syne" to Y La Bamba's silly "Senor Santa". All in all, it's a decent collection of alternative, mellow and rootsy music for the season.
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on November 29, 2012
Simple as the title says. Is this album your traditional jolly, orchestral holiday album? Absolutely not. Is it still awesome and will it still put you into the "Christmas Spirit"? Definitely.

The artists on this album are obviously not your typical. They aren't ridiculously poppy and cheesy. You won't find any Martina McBride or Taylor Switch renditions of your favorite classics here. Instead, you get a few more alternative and edgy artists performing slightly different, new takes on the less-heard holiday carols. The pieces are modern and original but in a way that doesn't take away from that classic holiday vibe we all know and love.

Perfect for trimming the tree or baking holiday cookies. I currently have it in my car and have been listening on my morning commute to work =]
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on November 28, 2012
I have had this album on repeat for three days. My favorite track is the surprisingly haunting rendition of "(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With the Bag" by Black Prairie. I also adore the Punch Brothers' rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

Keep in mind: This is definitely not an album for someone looking for a "traditional" Christmas album, or even a pop sounding Christmas album. However, if you, like me, love hearing your favorite artists bring some of your favorite traditional Christmas songs a modern and original sound, you will enjoy this unique holiday treat.
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on November 28, 2012
There are some really strong songs on this album and a few weak ones, but it's definitely worth the price of purchase. The standouts to me were Calexico's "Green Grows the Holly", The Punch Brother's "Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel" and Andrew Bird's "Auld Lang Syne" though I'll freely admit these fall to my personal tastes and if you like the band that recorded any particular song, you'll probably like the song.

It's a nice holiday album and a nice change from other Christmas CDs.
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on December 28, 2012
I looked at this for awhile before purchasing the MP3 version for $5. I usually go with CD's but didn't want it badly enough to justify the $17 my LRS wanted. Mostly wanted the McCartney version of The Christmas Song - similar in style to his recent colab with Dianna Krall and her trio. But there are other pleasant surprises on here as well, including the Yo La Tengo "Senor Santa." You're pretty sure to find something you like, and probably something you don't.
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