HO HO WHO: Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Chicago, otherwise known as your lamest uncle’s second-favorite band, have sold millions of records to people who like horns but hate to boogie. I kid, I kid! I like Chicago, both the city and the band. They’ve got a sound, and they’ve stuck with that sound for decades. Their latest release, Chicago Christmas—a lush, well-produced mixture of Christmas songs old and new— fits right in with the band’s traditional sonic template. Your lame uncle is sure to love it.
FUN FOR THE FAMILY: With its suggestive title and an opening verse like “I’m your Santa Claus / Gonna give you everything you wish for this Christmas,” you’d be excused for thinking that this song is a slinky Yuletide sex jam, Chicago-style. Don’t worry, overprotective parents: “I’m Your Santa Claus” is thoroughly family friendly. The initial lyrical tension soon resolves to cheerful holiday banalities about “walking in the falling snow” while “Christmas lights are all aglow.” You won’t need to have any hard conversations with your kids after listening to this song.
CHRISTMAS TIME AGAIN: Though the lyrics of this song are safe for all ages, they are also very dumb. “Christmas is here / I know every year,” the narrator sings at one point. Yeah, no shit. I can read a calendar, too, but I’m not planning to sit down and write a song about it.
CHEER FACTOR: 3/10. I would like to propose a moratorium on new original Christmas songs by legacy rock bands. They are never very good, and they sully fans’ pleasant memories of the band by virtue of their badness. If bands like Chicago must release late-in-life holiday albums like this one, they should stick to covers of seasonal classics and Christmas-themed versions of their existing hits, such as “25 or 6 to 4 (It’s Christmas),” or “Saturday in the Park (on Christmas),” or “Colour My World (the Colours of Christmas).”
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