Under The Influence - Holiday Edition
This is the latest from the a capella super-group Straight No Chaser (SNC). It features performances by Otis Redding, Sir Paul McCartney, Colbie Caillat and CeeLo Green. SNC will be touring the music from this album now through December.
The performances by the group are exceptional even if they don’t always fit the material they are performing. The Colbie Caillat song, "Everyday is Christmas" is a Christmas-time tune waxing romantic on a love so sweet that every day feels like a holiday. The vocals by Caillat and the SNC are crisp. Alas, the arrangement of the song makes it sound like Caillat and SNC are going through a rough breakup.
"White Christmas" with CeeLo Green has a slow start but burgeons into a jaunty tune. This one could have the same staying power as Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas is You." To do so could be as easy as convincing the youthful masses that they were the ones to discover this carol.
Otis Redding’s vocals on "Merry Christmas Baby" are a pleasant change for this album. His classic rock influence adds a unique flair to what would otherwise be a typical a capella album that appeals only to hardcore a capella fans.
Sir Paul McCartney is credited for "Wonderful Christmas Time" but his vocals are nigh impossible to hear. He’s not featured so much as added to the SBC vocal mix. It isn’t a bad recording, but it is unoriginal. You could get the same effect by singing along to the 1979 classic while tinkering with it in Garageband.
"Under The Influence: Holiday Edition" is a Christmas album with "Amazing Grace" added as the last track to fit the "holiday" category. Where are the Hanukkah or Kwanza songs? One spiritual, although well sung, does not a holiday album make. Other holiday-esque attempts include "Nutcracker." This one laments attending the Christmas ballet of the same name and promotes lying to one’s spouse. Let’s call a spade a spade: Christmas album.
"Under the Influence: Holiday Edition"
Straight No Chaser
by Straight No Chaser Featuring Otis Redding, Sir Paul McCartney, Colbie Caillat and CeeLo Green