Thursday, December 24, 2009

meet my christmas album: sounds of the season, the lionel richie collection

My friend Justin gave me this cd one year recently.  I think it was 2006 because that's when the cd came out.  I do know it's the most recent physical album in my Christmas soundtrack.  I've mentioned previously that I was raised on Lionel Richie (along with Elvis and Journey and country music), so a Lionel Richie Christmas album thrilled my soul.  Because I believe in full disclosure, I will admit that for a year or two after I got this, I didn't listen to it because it got separated from the rest of my Christmas music, and I forgot I had it.  But it's back in the rotation this year just in time for your reading pleasure.  You're welcome.  Overall, everything has a really typical Lionel Richie feel, which obviously suits me fine.  As I was listening to this one yesterday on my trip home for Christmas (after the torrential downpour, so I could focus a little more), the big thing that leaped out at me was the music.  The accompaniment on all the songs is very full and polished-sounding.  And it all works out.  The playlist (as you'll see) is strictly familiar carols, so I don't have to feel disconcerted about learning new Christmas songs. 

1.  "Little Drummer Boy" I have very mixed feelings about this song in general.  So some made-up kid that doesn't appear in any biblical account of the nativity story drums a song for baby Jesus.  It's just an odd song.  But there are many versions of it that I enjoy despite the weirdish storyline.  This one is fairly nice.  There is a bit at the end where Lionel has really strong feelings and might do a verse I don't know.  He really feels playing that drum.

2.  "Silent Night" My feelings on this song are well-documented.  I'm just not a fan.  It bores me. And people get so serious about singing it, and this one of those times.  Katelyn was just passing by as I was listening, and she proclaimed it awful and asked me to make it stop.  Out of the mouths of babes, people.  Well, the mouths of ten-year-olds actually.

3.  "The First Noel"  I really like the second verse of this song, and lucky for my relationship with Lionel, he sings it here.  All the repetitive "noel"s sometimes get old in versions of this one, but Lionel's being all soulful right now, and I like him for it.  Katelyn gives it up a thumbs-up.

4.  "Joy to the World"  When I was a kid, I didn't like this song at all.  But it is one that I have learned to love by singing it at church.  I love the verses, and I love how it sounds in four-part harmony.  This is the first cd in my collection that contains this song (I think).  It's a fairly nice version.  He's really feeling it.  Katelyn's feeling it too.

5.  "The Christmas Song"  Sometimes this song sounds melancholy, and it's really not that kind of song.  But I like Lionel's take on it.  Katelyn is picking out cookies to leave out for Santa now, so she's not available to weigh in on this one.

6.  "O come All Ye Faithful"  This is another song that I've come to appreciate more as I've aged and matured.  This is a beautiful version.  Lionel Richie's my guy.  Good job, Lionel.

7.  "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"  Well, he's no Judy Garland.  This version is neither spectacular or painful.  It's in the top 3 or so of versions I own though.  There's some fairly awesome saxophone work here. 

8.  "Winter Wonderland"   Lionel Richie brings all his 80s pop star credibility to this one.  But since I've reviewed WW something like 756 times in the past two weeks, it's nice to have a different sounding version to talk about.  It's a nice change-up from the more solemn sounds of most of the other selections here, with a strong Lionel vibe.

And that's the end of this one, the shortest of my Christmas cds.  Special thanks to guest reviewer, Katelyn, who had to jump in bed and cover up her head somewhere between tracks 6 & 7.

All that remains are the 23 or so downloaded Christmas songs.  Perhaps I'll get them reviewed by Boxing Day.  I could be more certain of this, if I knew when Boxing Day was.

Merry Christmas to all!

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