THE CHRISTMAS ALBUM
Half the appeal of Neil's deal, for me at least, is that he'll sing
anything, no matter how corny it sounds or how silly he looks doing it, with
absolute conviction. It's a trait he shares with other relics of pop's
pre-ironic era -- Wayne Newton, Michael Bolton, Kathie Lee Gifford. But it
comes in particularly handy for a Jewish guy from Brooklyn performing Christmas
songs, and even writing one of his own. On this perfectly overblown 1992 disc,
he doesn't just snack on little secular holiday novelties like "Jingle Bell
Rock," he sinks his teeth into solemn Christmas classics like "Silent Night,"
"Little Drummer Boy," and, yes, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." It's an utterly
convincing performance, devoid of even the slightest hint of the kind of
self-awareness that just gets in the way this time of year. And if his "You
Make It Feel like Christmas" doesn't move you to chuckle just a little bit,
well, then nothing's gonna brighten your December.
-- Matt Ashare
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