Sunday, October 16, 2005

On my turntable: Brian Wilson - What I Really Want For Christmas

Kudos to Brian for yet another great album. Released just this week, What I Really Want For Christmas is Brian Wilson's third full-length album in sixteen months (all three available on vinyl, I must add). For the past few years, Brian has maintained a pretty constant touring schedule as well. He has announced that he now intends to take a well-deserved break, and who could blame him!

As far as holiday albums go, this is a really pleasant record! Three of the LP's twelve songs, "The Man With All The Toys", "Little Saint Nick", and "Auld Lang Syne" were originally recorded for the
Beach Boys Christmas Album (1964). The new versions recorded with Brian's band fit very nicely with the rest of the album, comprised of traditional Christmas tunes plus two originals: "What I Really Want For Christmas", written with Bernie Taupin, and "Christmasey", which Brian wrote with Jimmy Webb. Both are really great Brian Wilson songs that stand up against the rest of his work. Some of the credit for Brian's recent success must go to his fantastic band, which includes two of the Wondermints, and former touring Beach Boy Jeffrey Foskett, who now handles much of the falsetto singing. Vocally, Brian sounds fantastic. His return to form of the past six or seven years has been nothing less than astounding.

The LP's packaging is very bare-bones, no surprise considering this is an Arista release (cheap bastards). The cover is nice, but the lp is lightweight with generic labels, and a plain white inner sleeve. No extra expenses put into this one, but it's still worth owning. The CD version, which comes out this Tuesday (10/18), features three bonus tracks.

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