I've said it before and I'll say it again: I hate Christmas music. Still, I agreed to give Monster Ballads: Xmas (2007, Razor & Tie) a fair shot and I have to admit I actually enjoy most of the songs included on the compilation.
The track list looks like this:
Jingle Bells - Skid Row
Happy Christmas (War is Over) - Winger
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Jani Lane
I'll Be Home for Christmas - Twisted Sister and Lita Ford
White Christmas - Queensryche
Run Rudolph Run - L.A. Guns
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Firehouse
Naughty Naughty Christmas - Danger Danger
Blue Christmas - Tom Keifer of Cinderella
Jingle Bell Rock - Nelson
Silent Night - Faster Pussycat
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Dokken
Happy Holiday - Enuff Z'Nuff
Winter Wonderland - Stryper
Christmas Love - Billy Idol
Winger, L.A. Guns and Danger Danger provide the three stand-out performances on this release. To be clear, the L.A. Guns featured on this album is fronted by Phil Lewis. His voice still sounds great, but a little older than the "Ballad of Jayne" days.
Danger Danger pay homage to their hit "Naughty Naughty" with a fun Christmas tune that I might actually want to give a spin, in say, July. Not many Christmas songs are glam, but leave it to Danger Danger to improve upon the genre. Check out these lyrics:
“My babies always been the given kind but when she tells me she's my present and she blows my mind/
I can't wait but I'm gonna' unwrap her slow/
Oh yeah we're gonna have a ball/
And we'd like to wish you all/
A naughty naughty Christmas and a dirty dirty new year.”
See, I told you "Naughty Naughty Christmas" is one hell of a glam tune.
Kip Winger's voice is amazing on the John Lennon remake. The version is pretty true to the original with a few glam tweaks here and there.
According to iTunes, Skid Row's "Jingle Bells" is the most downloaded track on this album. I'm not sure when the song was recorded, but I can tell you it features Johnny Solinger on vocals. The version is good, but definitely not the best on the album. Perhaps it's the universal appeal of "Jingle Bells" that is helping Skid Row?
Faster Pussycat wins the award for the most unique Christmas carol. Taime Downe sings "Silent Night" with a glam/industrial bent. I suppose it's the only way "Silent Night" will be ever be played in a dance club.
The other song I really enjoy on Monster Ballads: Xmas is "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Firehouse. The band who brought you "Don't Treat Me Bad" takes a lot of crap from music snobs but continue to make some really great music. On "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," the band sound like they are having a great time.They even change the lyrics toward the end of the track to fit a Metal theme. There's nothing better than a head banging holiday I suppose.
Here's the video for Dokken performing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."