Posts Tagged ‘Chipmunks’

Christmas Music 24/7!

November 28, 2008

OK, This is usually (always) reviews of Movies, I have a degree in film, not music. But I love music in general and especially Christmas Music. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is that it marks the beginning of a month straight of Christmas Music. (What other time of year can you stop by the Mall and hear a Hymn playing over the speakers.) So, with the title of my blog being vague enough to be inclusive, I ask the question….

What Should I Listen To This Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love played for me a Sufjan Stevens box set of Cd’s

Sufjan Stevens is amazing. There are shades of 70’s rock, well done emo, a lot of folk, banjo, accordion, and honky tonk piano thrown in for good measure. This box set has 5 CDs that he recorded over 6 years as presents for friends. It includes renditions of traditional carols, hymns that once you hear them seem to fit the season, and original songs. “Come on lets boogie to the elf dance” is one of the most fun things you can listen to. While talking about traditional American Christmas, including lines like “K mart is closed and so is the bakery, everyone’s home watching tv, it smoothly transitions into a second half that takes it’s lyrics from Away in A Manger.” This box set covers everything I think of Christmas* (including a healthy view of Santa)

Free MP3s:

That Was the Worst Christmas Ever

Sister Winter

On the Second day of Christmas my true love played for me Joy Electric


Joy Electric is a rock band that only uses a mono synth keyboard layered on multiple tracks, with no loops or computers. The result is fun and well constructed music. On the “Magic of Christmas” album it all fits together nicely. The beats and the bloops and tweets go great with songs like “Hear we go a wassailing” and “Frosty the Snow Man.” This is almost a kids album for adults. Ronnie Martin’s voice can be a bit weird, but I think on this album it’s the most accessible it has been. Winter Wonderland is a stand out track. The only problem here is a couple of the songs are too short. You get it to them and know there is another verse but…

On the Third day of Christmas my true love played for me Terry Scott Taylor

Here is a man who was at the forefront of Christian Rock in the 70’s. His collection of originals, “Songs for the Days After Christmas” mostly centered around the idea of keeping your focus on Jesus and the irony of loosing that in a holiday based on celebrating him. This acoustic/rock album is great music. The lyrics are mostly deep and thought inspiring, with enough levity to keep it from being a downer. The title track will have you move from knowing giggles to a thoughtful sigh

(Lost Dogs – “We Like To Have Christmas”

includes several tracks originally featured on Terry Taylor’s “Songs For The Day After Christmas”, now re-imagined and re-recorded by the Lost Dogs)

On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love played for me Happy Christmas Vol 2

This album is mostly traditional Christmas songs done in non-traditional ways by some great alternative rock and electronica bands. Pop/punk MxPx opens with a whimper, but Sixpence None the Richer doing a very detailed arrangement of “…Mr. Grinch” is worth the album and there are still 13 more songs that are wonderful. This is mostly loud and full with a lot of songs on the Heavy/Subdued roller coaster. It closes with the Lost Dogs doing a folk version of the Chipmunks Christmas song that includes a very funny skit about over produced music.

On the Fifth day of Christmas my true love played for me Relient K

I had their first Christmas album “Deck The Halls, Hurt Your Hand” when it came out. Now their second, “Let It Snow Baby… Let It Reindeer” 8 new songs and a bunch of the old one. This is fun and happy pop-punk. There are a few songs that are thoughtful piano. “I Celebrate the Day” is a moving look at our attitude toward the birth of Christ. “Santa Claus is Thumbing To Town” is very very funny. These are worth it just for a full on guitar version of “The Hallelujah Chorus”.

On the Sixth day of Christmas my true love played for me Vince Guaraldi Trio

They did the sound track to all the Charlie Brown specials and movies but the Christmas Special is just that. Jazz music for the masses it may be, but it is great to listen too. Having actual kids do the voices was also a fun move all around. This is the sound of Christmas. (And what music collection is complete without a copy of the theme song “Linus and Lucy”)

On the Seventh day of Christmas my true love played for me Happy Christmas from Bec Records

This was the first of the Happy Christmas series. Heaven’s Got a Baby is a lovely song amids the power cords, but the loud one’s are what it’s about. It’s heavy with ska, punk, techno, and a bit of experimental stuff to make it even more interesting. There is also
Vol 3 that is good and a
Vol 4 that is new Emo.

On the Eighth day of Christmas my true love played for me Glen Miller Orchestra


Glen Miller was amazing and developed a sound all his own. (You can see that summed up in “the Glen Miller Story” with Jimmy Stewart.) Glen was no longer with us when this was recorded, but his band is true to his style and sound, which goes very well with Christmas. These are all standards and have some great medleys, some about Santa, a lot about Jesus and a few from the Nutcracker. This is a three disc box set so you get a lot of music for your money.

On the Ninth day of Christmas my true love played for me Lost and Found Christmas Album

This band is a lot of fun. There are two guys who play the piano and the guitar (usual as if they were both in the percussion section.) They have odd voices and their songs seem like they were once “Camp Song Composers”, who have matured. All this combines to be very fun and deep. Most of the songs are Christmas hymns with a few originals that are great.

On the Tenth day of Christmas my true love played for me The Ultimate Lounge Christmas

John Jonethis is a lounge singer with a great voice and a flair for arranging. His first album was “Lounge Freak” which took top Christian rock song and converted them quite successfully. Here he does Christmas standards which seem to be a shorter road to lounge. This is not the most wildly radical idea for an album, but he does it with such style. He moves something that could have been generic, to a great listen.

On the Eleventh day of Christmas my true love played for me I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

(If you are trying to sing this review, you have to say hippopotamus for
Christmas as if it’s one word with two syllables.)

This is just a great song. It’s from the 40’s and written by the same man who penned “Do Your Ears Hang Low.” His young daughter provided the vocals. This song has the fun and magical feeling of the season in it. It is about presents but not about greed, just the silly wonderfulness of childhood. You can actually down load the song for free at

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love played for Me, Kenny Rogers (seriously)

You will not find a Christmas version of “The Gambler” here. (Though that might be cool.) This is mostly an adult contemporary album, but it’s still very good. It almost has the feel of the music in the mall when you suddenly notice “Hey, this one is pretty good.” The songs range from soft to powerful and even an acapella song with “Glad.” Most of the songs are original and deep. A cover of  “Mary Did You Know?” kicks it off with Wynonna Judd backing up and it finishes with a great montage called “The Chosen One” This has kids singing questions about Christmas and Kenny answering with recited scripture (inspired by Linus?) and then Carols that celebrate that aspect of the Christmas story. The arrangements are all unique enough to be cool, but still very traditional. Still my favorite song is a ballad that tells the invented story of a solder who fought hard all his life, though he was never sure of anything, until now, when he gives his medal and his heart to a baby king.


You got to know when to rap them,

Know when to pack them,

Know when to go up the chimney

and Know when to run

You never eat your cookies

while your sitting at the table

There’ll be time enough for eatin’

when the del’v’rin’s done.


from Q&E

*If the thing they are watching on TV is The Charlie Brown Christmas Special.



Keep in mind, I wrote this and still have not heard Sixpence None The Richer’s new Album The Dawn of Grace, which I am very much looking forward to!


Iron Man – Q&E Review Show

November 3, 2008

Alvin and The Chipmunks

May 24, 2008

What Is It?

First it was the Witch Doctor song. Then the little voice in the chorus was expanded to three characters and the Chipmunks Christmas song introduced the world to Alvin, Simon and Theodore and the problems David Sivil would have reeling in Alvin. From here there were records and cover songs. In the 60’s there was a Cartoon and it re-emerged in the 80’s and 90’s. Now they are back running though a live action world in all their computer animated glory. The songs are updated with guitar driven riffs and Maria Carry style vocal arrangements but the general themes are all still here. Down and out song writer makes it big when he finds singing chipmunks to sing his songs.

How Was It?

The idea of combining horror movies to make them scarier is not new. Frankenstein met the Wolf man in 1943. Recently Alien vs Predator covered outer space while earthly monster Freddie and Jason teamed up. Of course when executives decided to combining the stomach churning “Garfield the Movie” with the nerve destroying “High school Musical.” The result is here. This is the type of “Schlock and Awe” bubble gum garbage that will make parents wounder if they can hear there children’s brain shriveling up over the high pitched music .Of course David Sivil has been changed into the modern noncommittal song righter with the “Generic” label still showing a bit. The thing that has remained is that all action and comedy hangs on Alvin extracting his name as a frustrated explosion from David’s tormented vocal chords. When this new David breaks loose with “ALVIN!” the disappointment is complete when it sounds more like a little kid pretending to scream in a place where he’s not aloud.

(If that’s not enough, we get to listen to a record executive define all real music as “Justin Timberlake”.)

The best part of the movie was when we got to the “Chase everyone around and have people get hurt in comical ways scene” it abruptly ended long before I though it would. Then, in an act of mercy, the entire movie ended in the next scene.

Is It Good For Children?

This is not the largest moral disaster but there are cautions to be aware of. There are some odd sexual references. While David is on a date, Alvin tries to make things romantic. This not only includes low lights and a fire, but a Barry White style song with a guy saying he wants to do something “Freaky” to the girl. The term is used when Alvin sings “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don’t you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?” Not only should kids not be hearing about it in that context, but the choice of terms makes is upsetting. There is also a reference to Dave’s “Ex-Mate” that could go ether way.

Though it’s not focused on, there are background dancers and some other women dressed inappropriately and shown in a positive light. During a “Photo Shoot” A man recommends, and demonstrates, how Theodor should spank his own but. Theodor then follows the instructions. It’s the kind of obnoxious gag that will surly show up again in the actions of the younger viewers.


You should check for a breakdown of everything on the screen.

What about spiritual issues?

There is not much happening in this arena. There is much made of Christmas with nothing made of Christ. The only time we hear God’s name is when David uses it as a cuss word.

What is your Recommendation?

There are much better things to show kids. If they are going to spend almost two hours watching a movie it seems that there are much better things to see.
If you can not avoid Alvin and the Gang, you will want to talk about issues of family and commitment. You may also have to field a question or two about being “freaky” and watch out for stray but slaping.