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Imagine if Jimmy Buffett toured these parts this December in support of his new holiday album: There’s no doubt Parrotheads, in all their baked besottedness, would brave the subzero settings—shirtless, topless, pantless, brainless—and tailgate in our
winter wonderland as if it were July. Yellow snow would become a sight of jubilation as Corona flowed across icy parking lots in streams of kegstand runoff. Sadly, most of the crowd would grow delirious from raging flu by the time Buffett kicked into a mandatory “Fins,” but hey, what these folks won’t endure for a little tropical fun. Island should provide Buffett die-hards with plenty of yuletide bliss, but those not tantalized by the Mango Man’s partytime shtick should stay clear. “Jingle Bells” here becomes a hard-to-like reggae jam, and the original “Christmas Island” sounds like something not even Don Ho would think of doing. There’s also an earnest, completely unnecessary attempt at John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” which is saved from being a complete embarrassment by the fact that Yoko Ono is nowhere to be found. Only on the (obvious) cover of “Mele Kalikimaka” and the wild, Carnival-driven “Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rhum” do Christmas and Buffett mix well enough to generate a guiltless good-time buzz.—Sean “I Heard the Bells on Christmas” Daly