Barenaked for the Holidays

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Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Part of the joy of listening to the Barenaked Ladies is not knowing whether a song will be serious or silly. The latter dominate Barenaked for the Holidays, the Canadian quintet's collection of seasonal originals and traditionals, but there's plenty of serious fun here, too. "Jingle Bells" opens the album on a melancholy note with a few jazzy piano chords and a solitary vocal, before turning into a thumping, ridiculous polka and throwing in that "Jingle bells, Batman smells" verse that naughty kids love. While the zippy, jokey "Elf's Lament" suggests that Santa's helpers may be disgruntled employees it's full of one-liners about illegal doping and worker rebellion, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Part of the joy of listening to the Barenaked Ladies is not knowing whether a song will be serious or silly. The latter dominate Barenaked for the Holidays, the Canadian quintet's collection of seasonal originals and traditionals, but there's plenty of serious fun here, too. "Jingle Bells" opens the album on a melancholy note with a few jazzy piano chords and a solitary vocal, before turning into a thumping, ridiculous polka and throwing in that "Jingle bells, Batman smells" verse that naughty kids love. While the zippy, jokey "Elf's Lament" suggests that Santa's helpers may be disgruntled employees it's full of one-liners about illegal doping and worker rebellion, "Snowman" laments the transience and loneliness of our frosty friends: It's heartfelt and mostly sincere, as is the mandolin-driven "Hanukkah Blessings." The all-male Ladies swing through a jazzy medley of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" and "We Three Kings" with help from real lady Sarah McLachlan, and they reprise "Green Christmas," their track from the soundtrack to the Dr. Seuss film adaptation The Grinch. The silliest moment of the mostly acoustic Barenaked for the Holidays is also one of its best: "Deck the Stills" replaces the words of "Deck the Halls" with various rearrangements of "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young." It's absurd but irresistible.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's probably safe to say that fans of Barenaked Ladies have never found a holiday album to suit their tastes until now, when the notoriously quirky Canadian quintet released Barenaked for the Holidays. This will likely satisfy that portion of their audience however large or small it is that has wanted a holiday album delivered with that patented blend of jokiness and sentiment that's been the group's stock-in-trade. That may give the inaccurate impression that this album has been tossed off, which is hardly the case. The arrangements are nimble and largely clever, even when the group goes for an easy joke, as on the Casio-driven bossa nova instrumental revamp of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Admirably, the group doesn't rely solely on traditional carols, they contribute six originals to the mix; some, like "Green Christmas," are quite good, while others, like "Elf's Lament," are too jokey, but that may not bother the diehards all that much. Even more admirably, this is one of the few holiday albums that is pretty evenly divided between Christmas and Hanukkah songs, which isn't just nicely PC, but gives the album both musical and topical variety, making it a little more interesting and distinctive than the average holiday record. Still, whether you like the album or not boils down to this: do you find it funny when a slow, sincere version of "Jingle Bells" breaks into a jocular parody with the classic "Jingle bells/Batman smells/Robin laid an egg" lyric halfway through the song, and if you do, do you like the sentimental beginning as much as the silly conclusion? If so, Barenaked for the Holidays is for you.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/5/2004
  • Label: Nettwerk Records
  • UPC: 624284001524
  • Catalog Number: 40015

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Barenaked Ladies Primary Artist
Sarah McLachlan Vocals, Guest Appearance
Tyler Stewart Percussion, Drums, Vocals, Group Member
Jim Creeggan Electric Guitar, Vocals, Double Bass, Group Member
Steven Page Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Kevin Hearn Mandolin, Piano, Accordion, Keyboards, Vocals, Vibes, Group Member
Michael Bublé Vocals, Guest Appearance
Kelly Maureen McKenna Acoustic Guitar, Guest Appearance
Ed Robertson Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Technical Credits
Leroy Anderson Composer
Bob Geldof Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Midge Ure Composer
Barenaked Ladies Arranger
Jeremy Darby Engineer
Ted Jensen Mastering
Johnny Marks Composer
Mitchell Parish Composer
Jim Creeggan Composer
Steven Page Composer
Peter J. Wilhousky Composer
John Rummen Artwork
Don Garbutt Digital Editing
Kevin Hearn Composer
Traditional Composer
Mykola Leontovych Composer
Ed Robertson Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Great addition to any holiday music library

    I loved this recording. I originally purchased it because of one song I heard on the radio, but found I liked them all. There are even a few Hanukkah songs included. My 7-year-old son's favorite is Jingle Bells. You'll understand why when you listen to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Wonderful Mix of Holiday Music.

    I recently heard this CD promoted on my local radio station and loved it. It is such a wonderful mix of holiday tunes. I expecially enjoyed the Hanukkah music, what a nice addition. It was so nice to hear a real up-beat holiday CD from a great group of singers!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Must for Lovers of the Barenaked Ladies

    The album has a jazzy sound much like some of the band's early work. It has a wide variety-slow songs to fast. Jingle Bells has an excellent, unexpected twist. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (released earlier) is a classic with an up beat tune and Sarah McLachlan voice is heavenly. The album contains several humorous songs too. The Hanukkah songs are also a rather interesting addtion. It would have been nice to hear the BNL sing O Holy Night (one of my favorites), but the version on this record is nice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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