Saturday, November 24, 2012

Raspy Holidays (Music Review: Rod Stewart, Merry Christmas Baby)

Maybe I am getting older. The "Standards Snob" in me wasn't really fond of Rod Stewart's foray into The Great American Songbook, although I certainly understood why he went into them, and why people responded to those albums with ferocity. I do admit Mr. Stewart has a great, distinctive voice. It's not for everyone, but I like that rasp. He employs that rasp to full effect on his very first Christmas album, "Merry Christmas Baby," and what do you know? I think it's a very enjoyable Holiday album. Producer David Foster has infused the album with a variety of genres, and the end result: there's wistful, there's happy, there's body, there's soul! I love the collaborations, there's a funky duet (the title track) with CeeLo Green, and there's a bragaddocio Rat-pack style with Michael Buble, and there's even your duet-with-the-dead with Ella Fitzgerald. But I really liked his take on Christams standards the best. There's a great dichotomy between the sweet lyrics and the roughness in his. Without a "beautiful voice" to go with the pretty lyrics, you get the sense that you are getting something new. I could totally myself trimming the tree with this!

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