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Maybe This Christmas
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A portion of the proceeds of this 13-song collection will benefit Toys For Tots. Tracks include ""Maybe This Christmas"" by Ron Sexsmith, ""God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"" by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan, ""Snow"" by Loreena McKennitt, and ""Have Yourself" a Merry Little Christmas"" by Coldplay.
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Media Type: CD
Artist: MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS
Title: MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS
Street Release Date: 11/05/2002
Genre: XMAS VOCAL COLLECTIONS
Every holiday season produces at least one hip alternative rock Christmas CD. For 2002, it's Maybe This Christmas. Most of the 13 tracks here lean more toward the mellower portion of the alternative spectrum. The title track--a tender and poignant plea for peace and understanding by the wonderful Ron Sexsmith--basically sets the pace for things. Coldplay's Chris Martin proves he's no Sinatra on the band's fairly faithful, piano-driven "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," but there's still something endearing about his occasionally off-key but totally sincere delivery. Jack Johnson puts an apt--and quite amusing--spin on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (in which Rudolph takes the other reindeers to task for ridiculing him), and Phantom Planet do their best Everly Brothers crossed with Weezer thing and come off entirely likable on the ancient "Winter Wonderland." Most surprising, however, is Sense Field's cover of John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)." It's one of those songs that pretty much belongs to its creator, but the band's take on this classic is, in its own way, as enjoyable as John and Yoko's original. --Bill Holdship
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There are a lot of great originals in this collection that deserve to be heard for many Christmases to come. Probably the standout track is the last one - "Snow" by Loreena McKennitt. This track also appears on her "To Drive The Cold Winter Away" CD which is highly recommended (I'll be reviewing that one later).
The only flaw in this set is the Ben Folds track ("Bizarre Christmas Incident") which is just out of place in this collection of mostly serious and straightforward Christmas songs. Whenever it comes up, it just breaks the mood. Perhaps this track would have been better served on another more "uptempo" collection.
Besides the Loreena McKennitt song, other highlights include the eclectic version of "Winter Wonderland" by Phantom Planet, Ron Sexsmith's very fine "Maybe This Christmas" and Jimmy Eat World's fabulously done "12/23/95" which just keeps growing on you after each listen.
Coldplay has a cover of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" that is sort of flat. Not unpleasant to listen to but it doesn't go anywhere. Doesn't even sound like Coldplay.
Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan do a decent version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" but it is available on other compilations as well. As a collector, I wish bands would only put a given song on one compilation. If you are going to do multiple compilations, then please come up with new material!
Dan Wilson's "What A Year For A New Year" continues to grow on me as does Neil Finn's (of Split Enz and Crowded House) "Sweet Secret Peace."
Rounding out the collection are tracks by Vanessa Carlton, Bright Eyes, Sense Field, and Jack Johnson - all of them sound pretty good. This is fine Christmas music, mostly midtempo but very modern and original - not the same old holiday stuff at all. Get this collection. You won't regret it.
The two gripes, GreenSleeves is not a christmas song. It's a traditional english song about rejected love, rumored to have been written by Henry VIII about Anne Boleyn. Nothing christmas-y about it. The song What Child is This, which is sung to the same tune, is indeed a christmas song. But that's not the song that's included here. I think the compiler confused the two, and assumed that, if it sounded like What Child is This, it must be a christmas tune. Nevertheless, I don't skip that song when it comes on. The one I do skip is Ben Folds' jarring Bizarre Christmas Incident. This is a relatively mellow, melodic cd, with a positive vibe. That song is both jarring and decidedly negative. It doesn't work here (though it may well work in other compilations) and I always skip over it.