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HO HO WHO: Lo-fi Philadelphia emo singer-songwriter Billy Polard, who records under the name The Ghost in You.
IN THE NAME OF DARLENE LOVE: Darlene Love’s soulful Yuletide knockout “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” has been an Xmas classic since it first came out on 1963’s A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. It’s also become fodder for seasonal pop covers: It’s been redone by U2, Mariah Carey, R.E.M., Slow Club, Cher, Michael Buble, Smashmouth, and, um, Joey Ramone.
WIPE AWAY THOSE FROZEN TEARS: Strip away Spector’s lavish pop sound and replace Love’s soaring voice with Polard’s delicate whisper and “Baby Please Come Home” gets mopey fast. But this treacle vehicle packs a gimmick/saving grace: Polard packages his cover with an original called “Evergreen,” whose charming lyrics speak from the perspective of the absent sweetheart en route to his loved one. The earnest lines about cuddling and watching Home Alone may be squishy enough to distract from the fact that Polard cutely sprinkles his tune with a melody from “Jingle Bells.”
CHEER FACTOR: 5/10. Polard’s rendition of the Christmastime standard lacks the exuberant swing that made the sad tale of “Baby Please Come Home” easy to swallow, but “Evergreen” brings us some closure, at least.