Old rockers’ shocking Christmas schlock’s a crock
This week I picked up a new word: “over-rocker”. According to the local café guy, it’s something his friend uses in textile making, but to him - and now me - it’s also the perfect way to describe those once-awesome rock fossils who just refuse to die…and in the worst case scenario, live to make Christmas albums.
He’s at the ruthless end of fandom and reckons even a legend like the Boss needs to get it that while they may have been born to run, they should seriously learn to pull up before they over-rock. Wrecking Ball? “Waaay too cheesy”.
At least it wasn’t Chrissie-themed. Once the big names go the festive album there are those who’d argue the penalty should equal instant career death.
It certainly doesn’t appear to have upped the likes of past offenders like Michael Bolton (’This is the Time‘) or Mariah Carey (despite the sexy Santa body suit on the front of ‘Merry Christmas‘)—or Donny Osmond. And when metal badasses like Twisted Sister, or Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford get misty under the mistletoe you know they’re beyond the Brasso.
He’d be lynched by the latte crowd for saying so, but Mr Coffee reckons even a demi-god like Dylan may as well have popped his clogs the day ‘Christmas in the Heart’ hit iTunes.
Looking at the offenders of 2012, it‘s hard to disagree.
Exhibits A, B and C: Rod Stewart (‘Merry Christmas, Baby‘), Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta (‘This Christmas’) and recidivist Andre Rieu (‘December Lights‘).
Anyone who’s caught “I think you’ll like it” (Livvy and Johnny’s yueltide single which went up on The Punch yesterday) would have to agree that a better title for that offering—apparently featuring a pair of reanimated zombies, one with Lego hair—may have been ‘Nightmare on Xmas Street’.
It is impossibly bad. Danny and Sandy would be spinning in their leathery graves.
It may make the pair a few quick bucks - which, to their credit, are to be directed to good causes. But if they’re hoping it fires up their fan base a look over shoulders at the fortunes of last year’s Christmas popsters will not be a source of cheer.
Anyone heard much of a peep from Michael Buble this year (other than the fact that he and Reese Witherspoon have just announced a duet for 2013)?
And last time I checked, what was left of Justin Bieber’s cred had slumped to the point where he was just about booed off stage in his home country at the half-time show of its biggest sports event, the Grey Cup.
Bieber (whose 2011 release was ‘Under the Mistletoe’) was upstaged by a medley from 74-year-old Gordon Lightfoot, whom the crowd loved…presumably because he’s never done a Christmas album.
No, for mine there’s only one way to make a Christmas hit that really works; do it with tone. Think of the best ever Christmas song, The Pogues and Kirsty McColl’s ‘Fairytale in New York’ - nailed all the syrupy sentiment and proved you can do it with little in the way of teeth.
And what about that 70s classic ‘Christmas with the Brady Bunch’ (so well-loved for its rich vein of humour it was re-released in 1995), or David Hasselhoff’s 2004 catalogue of carols ‘The Night Before Christmas’.
His fans may have fretted that it was too dangerous a move, even for the Hoff. But God rest ye, merry gentlemen…surely he was taking the piss.
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