I Wanna Be Santa Clause (1999)

1. Come On Christmas, Christmas Come On 2. Winter Wonderland 3. I Wanna Be Santa Clause 4. The Little Drummer Boy 5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 6. Christmas Eve 7. The Christmas Dance 8. Christmas Time is Here Again 9. Blue Christmas 10.Dear Santa 11.White Christmas 12.Pax Um Biscum (Peace Be With You)


Every year around Christmastime there's always an influx of new holiday albums. Personally, I can do without most of them. I personally only need a few Christmas albums in my collection since the majority of them seem to be nothing more than rehashes of the same songs over and over again. There's only so many times I can listen to different versions of "Silent Night" or "I'll Be Home for Christmas" without getting bored.

So it's always refreshing when a holiday album comes out that sort of changes the expectations and breaks the mold a bit. Such is the case with this record. The first thing to notice about this record is that it's a very joyous, happy record Yes, Ringo takes the record seriously, but he never really seems to take himself very seriously. He's out to have good, clean, fun - and isn't that what a large part of the holiday season should be? Fortunately, his personality seems perfect for such a record. Since he became clean and sober about a decade ago, his albums have always resonated with a very happy, fun-loving, celebratory feel. He could even overdo it at times on some of those songs, and you could argue he does the same thing here, but to a large extent that's necessary since this record is so happy and festive.

Kudos to Mr. Starr for coming up with quite a lot of original Christmas material on this album. Along with his team of co-writers, he co-writes no fewer than six originals on this album, plus an original Beatle Christmas song that was never officially released. The great thing is that when you listen to the majority of these new songs right next to the few "classics", you really don't detect that much of a change. Yes, we've all heard The Little Drummer Boy and Winter Wonderland many times, but Ringo manages to inflect so much of his joyful, carefree personality in these familiar tunes that we don't mind hearing them yet again and they sound just as rewarding as the new Christmas songs that are mostly, themselves, quite rewarding. The only song here that feels a little off is the closer Pax Um Biscum (Peace Be With You) that sounds a bit too serious and too Eastern influenced to be included within all of this party atmosphere, but Christmas is supposed to really be about peace and love, right?

This really is a fun record, and like the season itself, never ever gets old. I recommend putting this album on the stereo at your next holiday party to spread some much needed joy, and some variety as well.

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