CHEAP TRICK – “Christmas Christmas”

November 10, 2017 by: Shauna O'Donnell

CHEAP TRICK

Christmas Christmas

(Big Machine Records)
Written by Christopher Long

Despite veering occasionally from their creative comfort zone, the latest from Cheap Trick is primarily a start-to-finish smash and crash collection. Teaming up once again with longtime producer, Julian Raymond, the band succeeds in creating a contagious 12-song set – one that borrows from the ghost of Christmas past while also pointing to the present.

Seemingly cut from the same stylistic fabric used to design their 2009 effort, The Latest, “Merry Christmas Darlings” opens the record perfectly and is one of three tracks written by band co-founders, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson.

Oozing old school rock and roll appeal, the remake of Roy Wood’s 1973 holiday treasure, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day,” is one of the album’s most irresistible ear worms – along with the “She’s Tight” / “Talk Dirty To Me”-inspired riffage of the Jimmy Fallon / Horatio Sanz-penned, “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” and the “Elo Kiddies”-fueled rendition of Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody.”

Covered previously by the likes of Bon Jovi and The Eagles, the blues-tinged 1960 classic, “Please Come Home for Christmas,” gets a sleek new(ish) Abbey Road / “Oh Darling”-style makeover, while the revamped edition of Harry Nilsson’s “Remember Christmas” offers a melodic tip of the hat to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

The 2017 recreation of the Chuck Berry standard, “Run Rudolph Run,” is a sleigh-sized gem. In likewise fashion, The Kinks’ staple “Father Christmas” and the Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” also make for raucous highlights.

Although the arrangement of the seasonal favorite, “Silent Night,” is a wee bit jarring, hearing the name of Jesus Christ actually proclaimed on a modern-day Christmas record is refreshing, indeed. And in that regard, Zander, Nielsen and Petersson are also due mad props for their incredibly traditional-sounding, new original composition, “Our Father Of Life.”

Zinging with an edge reminiscent of the band’s 1976 debut, the title track is another new Zander, Nielsen, Petersson jingle, and it makes for the ideal, rib-cracking record closer.

In sum, Christmas Christmas is a bona fide, eggnog-swilling, Yuletide treat.

-Christopher Long
(November 2017)

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