22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Good not great
, October 6, 2011
This review is from: Seasons Greetings: A Jersey Boys Christmas (Audio CD)
When I heard about this CD I immediately felt I had to add it to my collection. I loved Jersey Boys. I love Christmas. Can't miss, right? Well, I should have thought a little more about what I really expected this CD to be.
The thing I loved about Jersey Boys was hearing iconic songs performed very closely to the classic sound. The thing about Christmas music is that most songs have been performed by hundreds of artists. So, instead of wanting a song to sound a certain way, what I look for in a new Christmas CD is a familiar song performed in a new way. Using this criterion, the Jersey Boys CD falls a little short for me. As misterposter points out, this is not a Four Seasons Christmas CD. These are artists in their own right (Broadway musical artists to be exact) performing mostly well-known Christmas songs. The flavor is definitely 50s-60s, but if you just heard the songs out of context it would usually not remind you of the Four Seasons.
I recommend reading the liner notes before listening to the CD, and for this reason I definitely recommend the CD as opposed to the MP3 download. The liner notes alert you to listen for hints of Come On Marianne, Bye Bye Baby, etc., in specific songs. On my first listen, without having read the notes, I didn't hear them. Even with the cheat sheet, some of the references are pretty subtle, especially if you listen for the vocals rather than the orchestration. But the liner notes do enhance the experience.
The CD is advertised as being the first holiday album to come from a Broadway show, or some such. That seems like a pretty fine point. There have been plenty of various-artists holiday albums produced for charitable causes. In fact, the track O Holy Night was originally recorded by the JB Broadway cast to benefit Broadway charities. I would have felt better about this CD if the benefits were going to charity. Jersey Boys has made gobs of money over the years (and rightfully so, it is a blast), and it would have been nice to give something back.
So anyway, back to the album itself. I really didn't think it was all that special. When it comes down to it, no one can really sound like Frankie Valli when performing a song not made famous by the Four Seasons. There is a Drifters-like doo-wop version of White Christmas. I'm sure it was fun to record but the Drifters did it better. The most original arrangement is a synth-pop version of a lesser-known tune Angels From the Realm of Glory with a little Beethoven's Fifth thrown in - not for everybody. What you get is just under an hour of Broadway-flavored Christmas music - pleasant to be sure but not groundbreaking, playing off the incredible success of the Jersey Boys phenomenon to put a little more money in the pockets of its creators.
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