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HO HO WHO: The Monkees, of 1960s and television fame, have released Christmas Party, their first Christmas album ever. It’s a mix of covers and new entrants to the Christmas canon written by name-brand songwriters including Rivers Cuomo of Weezer. All four members of the band that started some 50 years ago are featured on the album.
PLEASE DROP HER AT MY DOOR: It seems fair to judge this record by its first song; The Monkees’ opening statement to the Christmas-celebrating world, if you will. “Unwrap You At Christmas” kicks off with a vamp that evokes the gold standard of modern-day Christmas tunes, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” before settling into something far less glittering. Throughout this plodding carol, The Monkees tell you just how much they can’t wait to “unwrap you at Christmas” and entreat Santa to “please drop her at my door.” Don’t worry, these septuagenarians have been saving all their kisses “just to spend them on your sweet lips” once they’ve released you from your cardboard and gift wrap prison.
NOT THE GIFT FOR ME: While the object of this song may be “the gift for” vocalist Micky Dolenz, this song is not the gift for me. It’s a shame, too. After moving back to the United States in elementary school, and being without friends or older siblings, I was woefully out of touch with popular music and listened to CDs my father made for me. The Monkees featured prominently on these, and I became a daydream believer. Alas, this repetitive, uninspired track has me longing for the “Last Train to Clarksville” rather than decking the halls.
CHEER FACTOR: 3/10. It’s not santacrilegious (an act so offensive to Christmas it’s sacrilege), but it’s also not good. Nostalgia seekers would be better off listening to their rendition of “Silver Bells,” which features the vocal stylings of Davy Jones, who passed away in 2012, set to newly recorded music.