Various Artists - Tis the Season to be Gotee
Record Label: Gotee Records
Release Date: October 5th, 2010
I have a little guilty pleasure for listening to Christmas music. I love the melodies, the various arrangements to these classic songs as well as the direct and wonderfully lyrics. Christmas is a strange holiday; it’s normally either people’s happiness or worst time of the year. For me it’s the former. When I was a child I looked forward to the Post-Halloween season when Christmas cover albums would come out like The Santa Cause, Tooth and Nail’s Happy Christmas albums or Drive-Thru’s Christmas Gone Wrong. For a while it seemed like the albums had stopped but this year we had a new Happy Christmas, Tis the Season to be Fearless and Gotee Record’s own Tis the Season to be Gotee.
The album opens with Relient K’s cover of “Silver Bells” from the 2008 re-release of their Christmas album Let it Snow, Let it Reindeer. Relient K has 2 other songs (“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “O Holy Night”) on the album both from the same release. This may seem like it’s a bit of a rip off if your only reason for purchase was to hear some new Relient K Material. However if you haven’t heard these covers before, they truly are a treat.
The second track is House of Heroes (a greatly underrated pop punk band) covering “All I Want For Christmas is You” which very well may have become my new favorite version of the song. House of Heroes’ second addition to the album is “Silent Night” which is an equally nice (but much more relaxed) song (as it should be). Their Final Cover is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
The third track completely changes pace from pop punk to Ayiesha Woods’ super bluesy-jazzy cover of “Jingle Bells”; which sounds like it belongs on Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Boogie Woogie Christmas instead of a Gotee records release; regardless it’s an interesting rendition. Her second cover on the album “Merry Christmas Baby” has a fun-Motown throwback that would definitely make Cee-Lo Green smile.
Abandon Kansas cover of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is hands down the standout track of the album. Their version starts with a slow piano piece and soft whispery vocals but steady builds into an indie rock sound comparable to artists like A Beautiful Mistake and Twothirtyeight. Sadly Abandon Kansas is the only artist with only one cover on the album. However they have stuck my interest and put their band on my radar, I’m very interested to hear what comes from them in the future.
Stephanie Smith covers “I Celebrate the Day” originally written by Relient K. Her version while interesting does not live up to the original. It’s also the only song on the album written with-in the last few years. This reinforces my long-time opinion that this is the closest we have to a new Christmas classic. After the laid-back sound of her version “I Celebrate The Day” she has a rocking version of “Jingle Bell Rock” that while fun is extremely forgettable. Many people have done this song and done it better and more memorable (those curious my favorite version was performed by Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem on 1989’s Muppet Family Christmas Special).
So how is ‘Tis the season to be Gotee compared to others? If you love Christmas music as much as myself then it’s worth owning, but it in no way holds up again Christmas comps in the past like Santa Cause and Happy Christmas. It’s definitely better than any of the last few cover albums from Fearless (but what isn’t these days). The biggest let down of this album is that out of 11 tracks there are only 5 artists on the album. Gotee Records used to be one of my favorite Christian labels (just beneath Tooth and Nail and Bettie Rocket) but times have changed and their roster as greatly dwindled. Regardless Tis the Season to be Jolly (and apparently Gotee… and also Fearless).