Showing posts with the label Novelty Album

Music Review: Care Bears Christmas Eve (CD 2006)

I knew this was going to be bad from the first track, but I didn't realize how bad. The music is generic overproduced "kid-friendly" stuff. It reminded me of the old commercials for Kidz Bop.

(Side note: I can't find the CD case right now, but all the cover art I see online says "instrumental" on it. It isn't instrumental music.)

There seem to be at least three singers: a male generic pop voice, a female generic pop voice, and a female voice doing a somewhat androgynous/generic "kids show" sound. The music production is terrible: the balance is off, the vocals sound overly digitally tweaked, yet still have prominent hissing "s" sounds.

The album includes a few generic versions of traditional carols. These are mostly notable because one is set so low in the male singer's range that his voice disappears under the artificial, 80s-keyboard-demo-grade percussion. It's also strange that all three are explicitly religious choices: …

Music Review: Phineas and Ferb Holiday Favorites (CD 2010)

This is not only a really solid album as far as cartoon-character-driven holiday music goes, it's also solid for holiday music in general. This shouldn't be a surprise; much like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, one of the major attractions of the Phineas and Ferb series is the music.

The first eight songs are all from the Christmas special. Well, including one that was apparently written for the special but cut for time. These include the more show-centered songs which won't make much sense to those who haven't seen at least some of the series.

"Winter Vacation" is a parody of the usual theme song.

"What Does He Want?" Candace is singing about her boyfriend, but this actually works fine as a standalone song about the difficulty of shopping for someone you want to impress.

"That Christmas Feeling" A solid original Christmas tune.

"I Really Don't Hate Christmas" This song by series villain Dr. Doofenshmirtz is a lot of fu…

Music Review: It's a Pony Kind of Christmas (CD 2016)

It's time for some new installments in my periodic series on Novelty Character Albums! (Oh gosh, I last did these back in year two?)

You can cleanly break this album into two halves, and, in fact, the first half was initially released alone. Part one is mostly versions of traditional Christmas music, and part two is music from the 2016 holiday episode. There's one track that straddles the divide, but we'll get there.

Let's remember one thing up front: ponies do not celebrate Christmas. They celebrate Hearth's Warming. (In fact, the composer clarified this point on his Facebook page.) So it's a little odd to listen to pony voice actresses singing about Christmas.

However, these are some of the sweetest, most fun Christmas songs I've heard in a while, so I'll easily let that go. Many of them are unique or special rewrites of classic Christmas tunes. They aren't written to be Hearth's Warming songs, but they are otherwise completely tweaked to fit…

Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along (LP 1984)

I adore this album, so I saved it for last. This was a ridiculously large part of the holidays of my childhood, maybe only eclipsed by John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. This is a much more solid work, though, every song here is good. There's such energy and good cheer here, I just grin whenever I hear it.

The structural premise is simple enough: it's a sing-along. So you sing. Along. Got it?

Song List:

Christmas Sing-Along / Deck the HallsSanta Claus is Coming to TownCounting the DaysLet it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!The Twelve Days of ChristmasJingle Bells / Silver BellsRudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerFrosty the SnowmanKeep Christmas With YouWe Wish You a Merry Christmas

The first song introduces the Sing-Along, welcomes us all in, and includes some blank Fa La La La Las in the Deck the Halls portion to encourage said singing along.

All these tracks do a great job balancing just doing a good version of the song, and adding in little character moments. For ex…

Christmas in the Stars (LP 1980)

A 'supportive' friend gave us a ton of random holiday music, compiled from who knows where, near the end of last year's Mainlining project. Much of it was unique, or terrible, or - like this - both. So, uh, "Thanks", I guess.

This is one of the weirdest, most nonsensical things I've ever listened to. The fact that this even exists blows my logic circuits, so to speak.

Okay, lets start off by saying that all of these songs are awful. I could have written better Star Wars Christmas songs as age six. Because even at six I was reluctant to make rhymes just by repeating the same words over and over again.

Also I feel bad for Anthony Daniels, the only voice actor with the misfortune to be involved with this. Maybe he really got a bad deal in his initial contract? It seems like he did a lot of these sorts of odd appearances.

This is also horrible because it even dispenses with the Life Day cover story, and just decides that droids make presents for Santa, and ever…

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Merry Christmas (CD 1996)

The songs below are actually from two albums, but many of the tracks overlap, and I don't have double copies of them all.

Technically, the music is performed by Peach Hips, which is one of the names for the musical group made up of the voice actors from Sailor Moon. It may be silly, but this is some of my favorite new music I acquired this year. In general I find these songs sweet and bouncy, and just plain enjoyable to listen to, even if I'm not sure what they're saying.

Also, I find it easier to visualize the Sailor Scouts/Soldiers (pick your translation) singing exuberant Christmas tunes than some of the other characters on these Novelty Albums.

Track List:

Sailor Moon ChristmasRudolph the Red Nosed ReindeerWhen the Saints Go Marching InJingle BellsThe Christmas SongLes Anges dan nos Compagnes (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa ClausWhen You Wish Upon a StarSilent NightKoibito ga Santa ClausLast Christmas

Additional Songs from Sailor Moon SuperS Christ…

Disney Princess Christmas Album (CD 2009)

Eesh. This is the first one of these that's really making me cringe. Some of the singing isn't bad (It's probably mostly one or two voice actresses, the cd does not identify them), but all the forced dialogue and lines referencing different characters are extremely awkward.

Not too surprisingly, it's less awkward with characters from the more recent movies, when it sounds like the actual voice actress might be doing the song, rather than someone imitating an actress from one of the early movies.

Whoever hired the voice actors for the seven dwarves and wrote their dialogue has a lot to answer for.

A lot of the problem I have with this album, though, is the premise. There isn't one. So some songs are sung as a group, but most songs are very specific to each character and reference their own world. It seems stupid to me to put something like this together and not have some silly magic reason that all the princesses are throwing a party together, or something. Then th…

Rainbow Brite Christmas (LP 1985)

Remember Rainbow Brite? Sure you do, it was a short-lived but much remembered 80's cartoon for girls. But did you know that Rainbow Brite released two records of music? And that one of them is a Christmas album? That you might not have known.

In the 80s  there wasn't a lot of concern for voice actor fidelity in children's media, so only a few of the voices on the disc are actually the voice actors from the series. That doesn't prevent this from being an exercise in blended nostalgia and a sort of bemused horror.

Song List:

A Gift of LoveJingle BellsThe Twelve Days of ChristmasSilent NightJoy to the WorldChristmas in the PitsThe First NoelDeck the HallsChristmas Medley: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Christmas TreeWe Wish You a Merry Christmas

About the Songs:

First off, let me tell you how surreal I find the song choices. Between Silent Night, Joy to the World, The First Noel, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (of which they do more verses than ma…

Christmas with the Chipmunks (CD 2010)

This year I made a point of adding to my collection of holiday music with what I'm calling Novelty Character Albums. What I mean is, albums where most of the gimmick is that the songs are being sung by fictional characters. I, honestly, love character-based Christmas music. There are so many seasonal songs that are good no matter what, but when, for example, the Muppets sing them, they become transcendent.

The first one I'm looking at is also the oldest (date on the CD notwithstanding).

The Chipmunks have been a novelty act since the 1950's, and their hit holiday song won a Grammy at the very first Grammy Awards.

So for historical purposes, I had to get one of their compilations. The company that owns The Chipmunks has been putting out different combinations of holiday songs since 1961, generally just re-combining and re-releasing the same tracks. So even though this CD was technically released in 2010, the recordings are all from the 60's.

With that out of the way, l…