Thursday, October 27, 2011

Symphonic Steamrollers: The Night Beat Christmas "Rap" Vol.1

Christmas seems to come earlier every year. I consider myself a traditionalist that way. One of the local easy listening stations that gets pumped into just about every restaurant or Dunkin Donuts out here will start playing non stop Christmas/"Holiday" Music (Don't get me started on "Happy Holidays", it's Merry Christmas) It's too much. Christmas is supposed to be a time of great joy, and if hearing the 5 Trillionth play of "grandma got run over by a reindeer" or "Last Christmas", by November 25 leads one to thoughts of homicide, that kind of spoils the holiday cheer.

There is a cure to HMIHT though (That's Holiday Music Inspired Homicidal Thoughts. If anyone can think of a better acronym, I'm all ears). The cure is simple. Break out the Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. There are some others, but these two are key. They will get you into the proper spirit fast, and they rarely make a music FAIL. 5 Emeralds can get awarded on reputation alone. Usually.

Given enough time even Mannheim Steamroller can make an average album. There, I said it. It's not that Symphonic Symphony is bad. It isn't, not by a long shot. It's just, there's something missing, and that is the electronics. There are certain things that people expect from certain bands, and for Mannheim that means Renaissance Inspired Synth-Rock. The Synthetic Instrumentals have been replaced by a real orchestra, in this case the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague. Only the Renaissance tunes (Silent Night, Carol of the Birds, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) survive intact. For the Rock Tunes (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Rock). Sorry, you just can't replace synths, and electronic instruments in general, in a rock tune. With Rock strings and orchestra should accompany the electronics, not replace them. I am giving Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Symphony a mere 4 Emeralds (Christmas music is not eligible for the PVA's, so this is an honest rating. Still, it's a major ouch).

Since the Christmas Music releases started on September 27 (Major Ouch), here are a few more CD's to pass my ears so far. Don't worry, I'll spread out these posts throughout the season. As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.
  • Various Artists - WOW Christmas 2011 4.5 Emeralds
  • David Crowder Band - Oh For Joy 4.5 Emeralds
  • Kutless - This is Christmas 4.5 Emeralds
  • Toby Mac - Christmas in Diverse City 4.75 Emeralds
  • Matthew West - The Heart of Christmas 4.75 Emeralds
  • Phil Wickham - Songs for Christmas 4 Emeralds