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HO HO WHO: R.E.M., with its annual fan-club-only single. This year’s features a standard—-a cover of Darlene Love‘s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”—-and some stocking stuffers—-an instrumental mix of three songs from the trio’s upcoming full-length.

THE WALL OF SOUND: Nevermind that it has nary a thing to do with Christmas, if the dub mix “IHT -> U -> EDIYTW” is a fair indication, then The Sleigher is looking forward to the new R.E.M. long player. The sound is pensive and shimmery in the Up vein, which is a good thing on a cold winter night. Serve with hot cider and sadness.

THE WALL OF SAD: The Sleigher has written in the past about his admiration of the Darlene Love-sung, Phil Spector-concocted “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” and until now considered the composition unfuckwittable. [From last year: “Kermit the Frog could sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” in Finnish backed by a recorder ensemble drunk on peppermint schnapps, and it’d still be the best holiday torch song ever.”] But the Sleigher isn’t feeling Michael StipeMike Mills‘ sorta-heartfelt but undersold reading, which eventually turns into something of a yodel. Some songs only work when you wail them.

CHEER FACTOR: 5/10. Add two points if you’re spending Christmas in the Alps. BABY PLEASE COME HO-OOOOOOOHHHHMMMMM.

LISTEN: R.E.M. – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home by Cover Me