Cheap Trick: Christmas, Christmas

Cheap Trick
Christmas Christmas
(Big Machine Records)

Cheap Trick presents a treat for us all, Christmas, Christmas, their 19th overall studio album.

Opening with big guitar slicing through Robin Zander’s wailing “Merry Christmas Darlings,” (one of the three original tunes here) into songs like the punk-infused cover of Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz’s (complete with Ramone’s like “Oh oh oh’s”) “I Wish It Was Christmas Today,” and then reads on classics like an electric torchy “Please Come Home For Christmas,” showcasing Rick Nielsen’s still tasty, yet loud, electric leading ability, Cheap Trick brings the holidays home.

The boys upturn Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run,” featuring Zander on hot harmonica, and manage big stomping across one of the best satirical holidays songs ever, The Kinks’ “Father Christmas.” It’s Zander killing it on the piano-led, string-backed Harry Nilsson’s “Remember Christmas” that I feel is the best cover here. This slower one fares better for me then the atmospheric guitar whine swirl behind Zander’s wavery vocal on “Silent Night,” or even the other ballad “Our Father Of Life,” a nice tune with a full chorus backing. Zander reminding us to dream and remember in that special Nilsson vocal style, strong and full and then flipping into a falsetto shows as much what a great singer Robin Zander still is as what a great writer Harry Nilsson was.

Along with Nielsen and Zander, original band member, bassist Tom Petersson (always an unsung hero of this band) rumbling the low end to perfect thickness, while ‘newer’ member, Daxx Nielsen (Rick’s kid) splashes and snaps above it all, Cheap Trick’s Christmas, Christmas is a sure winner. Wrap it up for the holidays.

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