- Audio CD (21 Nov. 2011)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Infectious
- ASIN: B005X8V530
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,599 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
This Is Christmas CD
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Collaboration between British singer/songwriter Emmy The Great and her boyfriend Tim Wheeler, leader of the Irish trio Ash, This Is Christmas features Matt Tong from Bloc Party on drums, Euan Hinshelwood (Young Husband, Emmy The Great) on guitar, a string section orchestrated by esteemed film composer Ilan Eskeri, with Tim and Emmy playing everything else.
The weather outside might not be frightful just yet – at least, not through this window – but there’s no doubt that it’s on the turn, and soon enough that fire will come into its delightful own. And what better soundtrack to snuggle by is there than one of countless seasonal selections doing the rounds right now? Take your pick from traditional carols, wintry pop favourites dressed up in trendy threads, or perhaps something a little fresher: This Is Christmas is a predominantly self-penned set from Emmy the Great and her Ash-fronting fella Tim Wheeler. It layers on the schmaltz but stops short of choking the listener with sentimentality by revealing a wickedly singular wit and some snappy expectations-eschewing cuts. Really, who else would write a song called Zombie Christmas other than these two?
Nobody, exactly, which gives This Is Christmas its necessary quirk-factor and standout USP, setting it aside from the rudimentary covers approach favoured by others this year: amongst those flogging festive collections right now are She & Him, Michael Bublé and Justin Bieber. This is, categorically, the only album on which you’ll hear the lines: "I don’t wanna have my last Noël / We’d better kick those zombies back to Hell". It’s also the only album where a song about Santa’s despondent wife being left home alone while other lovers are united at Christmas – "Go spread your happiness around the globe / But you should know / That I won’t wait for you / You’ll have to get a new Mrs Christmas" – rubs shoulders with a Weezer-does-Yuletide-styled number by the title of Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing), which finds Wheeler playing to his pop-punk strengths while Emmy coos delightfully in the background.
Originally taking the name Sleigher for this project – why, oh why, did the pair not keep it? – Tim and Emmy began working on This Is Christmas while snow-bound in Sussex last year, and wrapped things up during the wet weeks of August. It’s been put together with a great degree of care, every little swell of strings positioned for maximum impression, every entwined vocal a thing of either delicate beauty or boisterous fun. Sleigh Me – oh, be still these pun-tickled sides – is the first song they penned together, and it’s the kind of sweet-hearted duet that resonates with palpable feeling, as befits a piece performed by real-life partners. So while there’s humour aplenty here, This Is Christmas has its heart in the right place: wrapped up warmly on a hearth rug, waiting for Jesus the Reindeer to crash into the chimney stack.
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Top Customer Reviews
21st century. It will warm you up on those cold December nights.
Musically, it uses every Christmas Number One cliche in the book, including the Spector-like orchestrations (yes, there is a string section) and the thumping 1970s-style rhythms. Some of the songs take a pleasingly off-beat view of Christmas and all its trappings - Mrs Christmas is about what a miserable time Father Christmas's wife has at Christmas Time, and it includes a spoken voice-over as well! Other songs appear to have been written in about three minutes, but are highly enjoyable in the way that spontaneous music often is: Jesus the Reindeer is one such.
It's a light confection of an album, perfect for the holiday season. I wonder if "Home for the Holidays" will become a Christmas classic? Probably not, unless someone makes a video for it featuring Bananarama and Wham, but I love it anyway.
Despite the sleighbells and "wall of sound" production, the duo manage to keep the firmly on the right side of schmaltz, albeit with tongue firmly in cheek (on some tracks anyway!). However, away from the seasonal production, its the songwriting which stands out - particularly on tracks like Home For The Holidays, and Snowflakes. Both are instantly memorable and stand up as potential festive classics. They deserve huge amounts of airplay - even if just to hear something different on the radio.
Definitely an album that will stand up to repeated playing - even in years to come. Definitely one to buy if you love xmassy albums - certainly one to consider even if you dont.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great album. Played it a lot over Christmas. It's good to listen to something refreshing and new, Very catchy songs. RecommendedPublished on 10 Feb. 2015 by MIKE L L
Lovely Christmas album, played endlessly over Christmas instead of all the commercial rubbish they play on the radio. A couple of upbeat songs but generally quite mellow.Published on 3 Feb. 2014 by BJH
A great change from the commercial Christmas tunes which we've all heard to death. Sweet, quirky, fun and wonderfully seasonal.Published on 4 Dec. 2013 by Vicki
Love this album. I saw a review of one of the songs by Jo Whiley so decided to give it a try. It has now provided us with a new all time favourite Xmas song (ok, maybe on a par... Read morePublished on 22 Nov. 2012 by AndreaG
Wasn't looking for this but the samples sounded good so thought I'd give it a try. Glad I didd - excellent seasonal music.Published on 14 Jan. 2012 by Racing Toast
A little bit Phil Spector, with even a smidgen of Wizzard thrown in too. Everything a Christmas album should be, plus surfing and zombies too. Read morePublished on 23 Dec. 2011 by P. Blair