The 25th of December falls on a Tuesday this year. I’m normally not one to go out and buy a legitimate artist’s perfunctory mid-career Christmas album. I do, however, get all warm and fuzzy inside when I hear the E Street Band’s “Merry Christmas Baby”.
But in general, I’d much rather hear Rod the Mod screaming “Stay with Me!” than sleepwalking on his new addition to the cannon. See below. Enough said.
After a string of great albums kicking off the noughties (’99-’05), I broke my golden rule a few years back and got One More Drifter in the Snow by Aimee Mann. A handful of tepid standards and sub-standard originals, I shelved Drifter after a few painful listens. I decided to limit future listening to her non-festive material.
Ever since she got the sex-addled Tom Cruise to sing along with “Save Me” at the end of Magnolia, I’ve been a huge fan. Cruise was at his all-time best playing sex guru Frank TJ Mackey, by the way. Somehow I don’t think the fanaticism fell too far from the proverbial tree.
When she gave up a toe as part of Autobahn’s entourage trying to derail the Dude in the Big Lebowski, her status was forever etched in gold. And the fact that she springs from the early 80’s Boston punk/new-wave scene gives her a lot more street cred than some of her 90’s brethren who still fly the Lilith Fair flag 15 years past its due date. Who can forget those cat-like eyes and Cyndi Lauper haircut during her mid-80’s 15 minutes of MTV fame with ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry”.
So after recently re-discovering her brilliant post-Magnolia album Lost in Space, I decided to give Drifter another go. Back was the disappointment and embarrassment I had felt hearing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” the first time.
I consider myself a relatively loyal guy. And because I have a soft spot for Christmas music (Bing & Deano = benchmark), I hung on tight ‘til the last track, “Calling On Mary”. I don’t know how I missed this little gem in previous years but I strongly believe it deserves a place among her best. Rather than take my word for it, have a listen for yourself. Read on.
As this quarterly Intelligent Media blog is meant to deal with “new” media, I had intended to write about the first single off her new album, Charmer. After hearing her perform “Labrador” on various talk shows, it has really grown on me. Watch it live. And for review of Charmer.
I also realize I’ve already made my Q4 blog entry for 2012. However, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I’ll leave it up to Aimee and Bruce to do it properly:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new album/single, her foray into Christmaslandia or Christmas music in general. Thanks for sharing with me!