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Merry Mixmas Review
by Shannon Taylor

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Christmas is a strange time of year. It is the time of year where regardless of where you are in your personal life, you are supposed to be happy - after all, how can you be depressed on Christmas? Basically, we smile for fear of labels such as Grinch and Scrooge. In that capacity, Christmas music which is often not really that great, is given a tinge of nostalgia, it's even given a pardon because it is to be associated with happier times.

In the CD, we are treated to a modern remixing of 16 classic Christmas tunes. In the liner notes of the album, the fathers of this idea, Thomas and Gary recognise that as we grow older Christmas stops being a happy time, and turns instead into a stressful time where we are all running around trying to convince everyone else, including ourselves, that we are indeed joyful that Christmas time is once upon us. Therefore, the idea of Merry Mixmas is to update the happy memories associated with these songs, and make them modern, so Christmas can indeed be fun again.

The idea, while incredibly commendable and indeed smart doesn't quite manage to be pulled off. The remixed effects added to the songs feel divorced from the songs themselves, essentially the songs do not become modernized in the way it was hoped, because it still feels like we are hearing the classic Christmas songs we all secretly love, only now there are annoying and jarring added sounds.

The first two tracks in Bing Crosby's "Winter Wonderland" and Nat King Cole's "All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" are the two songs that suffer the most from the above mentioned sound. As these two songs are so instantly recognizable and have long been an integral part of Christmastime as we know, it would be difficult to update the sound.

However, the two highlights of the CD come in the awayTEAM's remix of Lou Rawls' "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and the Alexkid & DJ Seep remix of Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby". These songs manage to strike the balance between the old and the new - for example in "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", the vocal in the first several verses is remixed to have a faraway, tinny sort of sound - almost like it is being sung through a megaphone, only for the proper sounding vocal to come in at about the 1.30 minute mark. It is effective because the awayTEAM manages to update the sound of the song, whilst still staying true to the familiarity and comfort that bleeds from the original.

Overall, Merry Mixmas would be a decent enough album to play in the background on Christmas night, after the excitement of the day has wound down and it is the furthest possible time until next Christmas. The idea of the album was great, but wasn't executed particularly well; however it is questionable that this idea could ever really be pulled off because of the nostalgia associated with the original songs.


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Merry Mixmas

Label:Capitol
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