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Christmas Cheers Audio CD – CD, November 3, 2009
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On December 31, 2007, the 10 members of Straight No Chaser were just ordinary guys living their lives in cities all over the world. Then on January 1, 2008, all of that changed. Because of a video of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas' that was filmed in 1998 and went ‘viral' on Youtube that holiday season, the former Indiana University a cappella group was asked to come back together and record a Christmas album for Atlantic Records. The album appropriately titled ‘Holiday Spirits' went on to sell over 110,000 copies while the media honed in on the sensation all throughout the holiday season. Straight No Chaser was featured in the New York Times, Dr. Phil, Fox & Friends, The Today Show, Christmas In Washington (TNT), ABC World News, CNN Headline News and more!
After a whirlwind of success and development during the 2008 holiday season, Straight No Chaser is currently back in the studio recording their second holiday album titled ‘Christmas Cheers' including original music such as " The Christmas Can Can'. Sticking to the formula that made them both a novelty and a sensation, "Christmas Cheers" is a collection of both new and classic holiday songs with smooth harmonies and a comedic twist. To support the new release, the guys will embark on a 50 city nationwide tour starting October until December 23rd and will also be performing alongside Barry Manilow at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24th (do not announce yet). With the holiday coming up fast, it's time to bring on the cheer and get ready for another round of Straight No Chaser!
FULL TRACK LIST:
1. The Christmas Can-Can
2. We Three Kings Of Orient Are
3. Christmastime Is Here
4. Let It Snow
5. Donde Esta Santa Claus
6. I'll Be Home For Christmas
7. Hey Santa!
8. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
9. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
10. Holy Night
11. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
13. Jingle Bells
14. Who Spiked The Egg Nog?
15. The 12 Days Of Christmas
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Frequently bought together
- ASIN : B001TRDPB4
- Publisher : Atco/Atlantic (November 3, 2009)
- Language : English
- Item Weight : 3.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.88 x 5.59 x 0.55 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #240,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you aren't already familiar with the group, Straight No Chaser is a 10 member a cappella group that first formed at a college in Indiana. They rose to fame when a video of their funny take on "The 12 Days of Christmas" went huge on YouTube. (If you haven't seen it, search for it. It's a riot.) The first disc included that live version. This one features a new, studio recording of the classic. All the same jokes and other songs are included. At first I was excited to get a studio version, but I've got to confess it loses something without the audience's reactions. I actually prefer the live version.
Ah, but that's the final track out of 15. There's still plenty of Christmas music goodness here. They start out with the original track "The Christmas Can-Can." This is an upbeat, fun song that basically mocks how commercial our Christmas celebration is here in the states. When they sing lines like "Heard this song 20 times already and it's only Halloween," I can't help but laugh. (And yes, this is coming from the guy who started listening to Christmas music in October this year.)
But there are plenty of more serious songs on the disc. "We Three Kings" is a fun take on the classic. They actually sing the song over a modified version of the "Mission Impossible" theme, or at least that's what the first few bars always make me think of. They do four of the five verses. My favorite is the last one where they give things a Jamaican feel.
Nothing will ever replace the original version of "Christmastime is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas for me. However, the guys do a great job of covering it here. Their harmonies are tight, and the way they sing it to echo each other is stunningly beautiful. They get rather high as well, almost matching the falsetto the kids use on the special.
They also cover "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" from that TV special. Again, nothing can top the original, and their version won't be giving it a run for its money. Their alternative melody at times and the lower range they use make this one seem slightly sinister. That just makes some of the classic lines all the funnier to me.
Of course, if you want more traditional arrangements, you won't be disappointed here either. "O Holy Night" is a very traditional take on the song. All 10 of the guys are singing here, no vocal instruments or beat box to distract from the lyrics. And their harmonies? Outstanding. This is the reason to get an a cappella disc. They let a soloist handle most of "I'll be Home for Christmas" while various humming vocal instrument sounds in the background, but it is similarly beautiful. Their "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is very upbeat and fun with occasional flights of fancy that make me smile. And they really take some liberties with the melody of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," but it's an upbeat and fun take on the classic song.
The reason I don't like this disc as much as their first Christmas release are their attempts as additional humorous songs. Okay, that's not quite true, "Who Spiked the Eggnog?" is an upbeat song likely to get stuck in your head. Just imagine the looks you'll get walking down the street singing it under your breath.
The other attempts at humor really do show the range of the guys in this group. I really do wish I could enjoy them more. "Donde Esta Santa Claus" has a very Mexican flavor with their vocals doing a great job of imitating shakers and castanets. I can't completely place my finger on what bothers me about the song, but maybe it's the various changes in tempo that don't quite work for me.
"Hey Santa!" is the best of the three songs. It's got a Dixieland Jazz feel to it, with most of the guys singing the lyrics in perfect unison and harmony. This one is kind of fun, although I get tired of it before I wear out the other arrangements here.
"Santa Claus is Back in Town" would be impressive if it weren't for the lyrics. The lead vocalist does a very impressive Elvis impression. You'd swear he was actually singing with them. However, when he gets to the part where he talking about being lonely at the North Pole, it gets awkward for me. Then there's the discussion of the food he's looking forward to eating like mayonnaise candy canes or spam gingerbread houses. It pretty much loses me there.
So, no, this disc isn't perfect. But there are still enough fun songs to make it worth your while to track down. Just like the promise, Straight No Chaser will give you some Christmas Cheers.
The Christmas Can-Can made me laugh. The twists in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, and Santa Claus Is Back in Town made me really listen to the lyrics and they became fresh again. Ending with The 12 Days of Christmas is the perfect conclusion to the CD.
If you enjoy Christmas music and have a good sense of musical humor, then you'll probably enjoy this CD. If you do, then be sure to check out the other Christmas CDs by this group; I haven't found one yet that I didn't love.
This latest CD features mostly traditional carols done in a generally recognizable way. The flights of fancy are more grounded than soaring. Even with that observation, this is a simply terrific CD with some subtle touches I appreciated. Other reviewers have noted obvious musical style influences in some of the songs. What is most impressive is how deftly SNC handle any style - they really can sing. Below is a brief synopsis of each song. Note that when I use the term "boy band" to describe the style they've selected for a particular song, I intend nothing but respect because when they perform that style, they do it better than almost anyone.
Christmas Can Can - High energy novelty song - cute and borderline annoying.
We Three Kings - Starts with the intro to the Mission Impossible theme song, which, of course, given the Three Kings task, is quite clever. The rest of the song is otherwise traditional.
Christmastime Is Here (Charlie Brown Christmas) - Uses the opening bars from the O' Christmas Tree carol. The song itself is otherwise a straight rendition with the style being a male chorale group.
Let It Snow - R & B treatment of the song with a creative arrangement that is quite unique. The lyrics remain as written.
Donde Esta Santa Claus - Song is effectively performed in a 50's Doo Wop style.
I'll Be Home for Christmas - Beautiful "boy band" harmonies. They moved the song introduction to the middle to great effect. It actually was much more moving re-positioned.
Hey Santa! - Manhattan Transfer style with great energy.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Done in a jazzy style with some altered lyrics.
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch - Interesting sound from the Bass members of the group with a "boy band" sound. Traditional lyrics used.
Oh Holy Night - the style used is the one that defines them - a male a cappella chorale group. This is a very traditional and also a very beautiful rendition.
Santa Claus is Back in Town - is an impressive imitation of Elvis' classic version with some additional lyrics.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Definitely has a Manhattan Transfer feel to it, and the opening howling wind sound effect is quite ethereal.
Jingle Bells - SNC's choral ability shines in this song, a tune that has been done so many times it is impressive that they managed a fresh arrangement and some new lyrics.
Who Spiked the Egg Nog - Jazzy style and the song is surprisingly sophisticated.
The Twelve Days of Christmas - Studio version of the version on the first CD. It is fun to have another version of the song.
They have not duplicated the magic of The Twelve Days of Christmas and perhaps it isn't necessary. I enjoyed this CD very much and would highly recommend it to all who like male a cappella music and aren't offended or annoyed by a slight twist on tradition. This is not a CD to listen to when cuddling by the fire, it is too high energy. It is better suited for a party or when the listener needs a second wind to finish up gift wrapping or cookie baking.
Top reviews from other countries
It contains a great mix of upbeat and more quiet songs, with some interesting styles involved. The singers are very good and work well together, and has a really good feel to it!