Hark! Your 2013 Holiday-Album Roundup

Categories: Holidaze

Photo courtesy of The Brokaw Company
The Gang wants you to stay Kool this holiday season.
Happy Halloween, everyone. Who's ready for Christmas?

Must be quite a few of you, because the music biz rolled out many of its major 2013 holiday LPs this week. Those that don't arrive next week, that is, or else got a head start like Mary J. Blige. Her A Mary Christmas arrived two weeks ago and now sits at No. 1 on Billboard's Holiday Albums chart for its foresight. (Yes, there is one of those.)

Rocks Off will freely admit we have a weakness for holiday music. It's perfectly reasonable to argue that the world does not even one more version of "Silent Night" or "Winter Wonderland," and that anyone who makes another one is just lining his or her pockets with peace on earth and goodwill to men. On the other hand, the most cynical grinch among us can get choked up upon hearing even a halfway decent "O Come All Ye Faithful," and who among us doesn't pause to bellow "FIVE GOLD RINGS" (hopefully just to ourselves) whenever "12 Days of Christmas" comes on at the supermarket?

In fact, we'd argue that half the fun of holiday music is what a mixed bag of surprising quality and utter crap that each round of seasonal music turns out to be. Allow us to pick through this year's ornaments for a few moments, won't you?

Bad Religion
Christmas Songs (Epitaph)

Release Date: This Tuesday
New Seasonal "Standards": "American Jesus" (we guess that counts)
Most Outrageous Press-Release Claim: "In a world still brimming with rampant anti-intellectualism, inequality and oppression, Bad Religion's signature brand of sonically charged humanist dissent is as relevant as ever and this Christmas season, just a little more ironic." Stream the entire album here.
The Spirit of Giving: Band is donating 20 percent of the proceeds to SNAP, or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Bright Eyes
A Christmas Album (Saddle Creek)

Release Date: November 5
New Seasonal "Standards": "Blue Christmas," feat. Azure Ray's Maria Taylor
Most Outrageous Press-Release Claim: "Check out the album The New York Times called 'the saddest, sweetest holiday recording you'll hear all season.'"
The Spirit of Giving: Originally released as an online exclusive in 2002, with proceeds going to the Nebraska AIDS Project.

Mary J. Blige
A Mary Christmas (Verve)

Release Date: October 15
New Seasonal "Standards": "This Christmas"
Most Over-the-Top Press-Release Claim: "Spreading holiday cheer all around, the Mary J. Blige "A Mary Christmas" 'ZinePak will include in addition to her 12-track CD, some lovely holiday gift items such a 64-page magazine featuring exclusive interviews with Mary, family photos, Mary's favorite holiday memories, Christmas recipes and custom gift-tag stickers."
The Spirit of Giving: ZinePak version available exclusively at Walmart stores and walmart.com, while supplies last.

List continues on the next page.

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My Voice Nation Help

Great review and great choices.  The challenge for a tiny indie label like SurfChords.com is how to get our new holiday release "The SurfChords: Sea Sun Greetings" heard and reviewed amongst the avalanche of big-name, big-label offerings.  We can only hope people looking for something different will give it a listen.  Thanks again.

Chris Whatley
Chris Whatley

Does anyone else think Mary J. Blige missed the opportunity to name the album a "Mary" Christmas!? Smh. Either way, I'm buying it. Love her. I want Kelly Clarkson's too!

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