BY LAURA SHIELDS
Love Christmas but are too punk rock for the festive tunes that fill the air leading up to December 25th? Want to get in the Christmas mood but don’t want to listen to some kid sing “Little Drummer Boy” in operatic tones? Well then, you’re in luck! Bad Religion’s “Christmas Songs” is just the thing. The title is pretty self-explanatory, a punk band singing a bunch of Christmas songs.
“Hark! The Harold Angels Sing” starts proceedings and for the first few seconds you could be fooled into thinking this was just another Christmas album with the acapella harmonising. As always, these harmonies are wonderful. This band can certainly handle songs meant to be sung by a choir in a cathedral. But within literally seconds you know you are listening to a Bad Religion album. Once guitarist, Brett Gurewitz, pipes up he makes sure to remain a voice to be heard. With signature buzzing guitar sounds you could easily forget these are carols.
That said, Christmas Songs is just an album of covers. No new ground is crossed lyrically. If you imagine what you think Bad Religion singing Christmas carols sounds like, you’re probably on the money. Even the only non-Christmas song is nothing more than a newly mixed version of “American Jesus” (Originally featured on 1993’s “Recipe For Hate”).
A cynic might wonder why a band known to be opposed to organised religion have decided to put out an album like this. Is it for money? Have they secretly liked some elements of organised religion all along? Are they running low on punk steam? These questions have been asked but they don’t need to be.
The entire album is tongue in cheek. I mean, you think it was an accident that all the songs are religious carols? Not to mention the fact that 20% of the profits are going to support charity, “SNAP” (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).
Finally though, who doesn’t like Christmas? It’s a time of goodwill and generosity. It’s a time of festivity that is unavoidable regardless of your religious views. Bad Religion has been around for over 35 years. They deserve to have a bit of fun. Don’t be a Grinch and join in and have a listen!