I hate Christmas albums. I hate their saccharine-sweet cod-religious exhortations, the god-damned jingle bells and the enforced jollity of the whole shebang. Unfortunately, my other half loves the bloody things, and every year insists on dragging them out and torturing me with them.
It also happens that I absolutely love punk covers - especially those done in a Nineties SoCal style. So, when Bad Religion’s Christmas Songs turned up, it seemed like the perfect solution to my domestic strife.
And it very much is. There ain’t a lot of depth to this album - it’s 20 minutes long, it’s Bad Religion and they’re playing supercharged Christmas carols. All songs are played relatively straight - nary a jingle bell in earshot - which is a good choice, as it offsets the devotional aspects of more traditional carols like ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’. Even so, it’s a bit odd hearing Greg Graffin give glory to newborn kings and harking at herald angels, so the addition of more modern yule tunes (notably ‘White Christmas’) is a relief.
The only misstep is inclusion of a version of Bad Religion’s own ‘American Jesus’ at the end of the album. While it makes sense to an extent, it’s quite obtrusive: in fact, it feels like it was added to edge the running time over that of an EP. Considering the number of Christmas songs Bad Religion could have recorded, it feels a bit Scrooge-like, and makes one wonder if they reached their royalty budget a little sooner than planned.
Still, Christmas Songs is great fun regardless, and has already proven to be a much more domestically-blissful way to get into the Christmas spirit in my household than the usual options. I recommend deleting the final track, whacking the rest on repeat, and slamdancing around the Christmas tree this year.
6Kev Eddy's Score