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MTV: TRL Christmas

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10/30/2001

Review

It's a given that MTV TRL Christmas is a smash mouth cash-grab, a tie-in to the dying TRL market, but it's still disconcerting how slapdash and uneven this collection is. It doesn't help that it opens up with the self-styled raging slut Willa Ford, performing a truly disgusting materialistic anthem "Santa Baby (Gimme Gimme Gimme)," an utterly revolting paean to crass commercialism and tarted-up teen sexuality topped off with a violence-inducing chorus. It's remarkable how offensive this song is, not just from its message but to its presentation -- reducing Christmas not just to gimme, but gimme gimme gimme to the extreme, as she pleads for real estate in L.A. and N.Y., each with a legion of studs to service her (who writes this stuff?). When you lead off an album with that, things can only get better, to quote the great Howard Jones, and they do, actually. 'N Sync's "I Don't Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You" is perfect modern-day holiday pop, with a really nice chorus that could make it a classic, of sorts. Then, things get a little cobbly wobbly, with an over-sung (surprise!) "Angels We Have Heard on High" by Christina Aguilera and a "Sleigh Ride" by TLC that almost works, as long as they disregard the song they're supposedly covering. Sugar Ray aping the Beach Boys on "Little Saint Nick" does nobody any favors, but then here comes the surprise -- a series of punk-pop holiday tunes that really work well. Weezer's "The Christmas Song" had previously circulated as a single before The Green Album, but it's very good, and Blink 182's "I Won't Be Home for Christmas" is another winner (Simple Plan's post-Weezer "My Christmas List" is pretty fun, save from its rapped verse). POD's "Rock the Party" is negligible; Smash Mouth again proves that they shine the brightest on tributes, soundtracks, and various artists collections with "Better Do It Right"; Bif Naked does a good job with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"; Jimmy Fallon unexpectedly ups the ante by doing a better novelty than Adam Sandler with the thrashy "Snowball"; a good LFO cut in "Red Letter Day"; Angela Via's "Christmas Wish" doesn't register; Little T's "Snow Angel" feels out of place, but nearly as much as the classic rock pomp of Trans Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Canon," which nobody who listens to TRL, whether they're 12 or 28, wants to hear. In other words, it's an utter mess, targeted to a mass audience but not made with them in mind. There are some good moments here -- more than you might expect, and they're good enough to warrant hardcore fans to seek 'em out -- but it's not enough to make this wholly satisfying to any audience. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Santa Baby (Gimme Gimme Gimme) Willa Ford 3:42
  3. 2 I Don't Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You *NSYNC 4:2
  4. 3 Angels We Have Heard on High Christina Aguilera 4:7
  5. 4 Sleigh Ride TLC 3:44
  6. 5 Little Saint Nick Sugar Ray 2:5
  7. 6 I Won't Be Home for Christmas blink-182 3:16
  8. 7 My Christmas List Simple Plan 3:25
  9. 8 The Christmas Song Weezer 3:6
  10. 9 Rock the Party [RTP Remix] P.O.D. 3:58
  11. 10 Better Do It Right Smash Mouth 3:8
  12. 11 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Bif Naked 2:53
  13. 12 Snowball Jimmy Fallon 2:4
  14. 13 Red Letter Day LFO 3:47
  15. 14 Christmas Wish Angela Via 4:4
  16. 15 Snow Angel Little-T and One Track Mike 3:45
  17. 16 Christmas Canon Trans-Siberian Orchestra 4:18

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