A refreshing change from the usual festive releases, Californian punk rockers Bad Religion‘s ‘Christmas Songs‘ offers up eight very different interpretations of holiday classics, including ‘Little Drummer Boy‘ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful‘, as well as a remix by Andy Wallace, of Bad Religion‘s own track ‘American Jesus‘. With sixteen studio albums and the title of ‘best selling punk rock band of all time’, the band have used this record as a chance to stray from their usual theme of politics in to something a little more light-hearted.
Opening track ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing‘ begins quite softly with what can only be described as a choir-like harmony before launching in to that usual Bad Religion sound with no lack of riffs and loops. For a band that has been going strong since 1979 they do an incredibly good job of keeping their music fresh and unique to them, and these Christmas covers are no exception to that. Greg Graffin‘s vocals paired with the drumming genius that is Brooks Wackerman is what keeps this particular track strong, alongside very unexpected but fitting harmonies throughout.
‘White Christmas‘ is quite the odd one out among the covers seeing as it’s the only non-religious track – not really something you expect from a band called Bad Religion, but it works nonetheless. The punk rock music in these classics may completely revamp the sound, but it’s no gamechanger to the lyrics which still get the listener in to the Christmas spirit. ‘What Child Is This?‘ sticks to the theme of the true meaning of Christmas, and manages to do so while featuring a strong guitar solo – something you really have to commend.
The only original track on the album ‘American Jesus‘ which has been remixed in this instance is a stark change from the rest of the EP. It might have ‘Jesus’ in the title, but the theme reverts to Bad Religion‘s usual political vibe which leaves it as something sounding like it doesn’t belong – or maybe just a bonus track. Despite it being the penultimate track, ‘Christmas Songs‘ is a well-rounded, strong cover album from the unlikely heroes of punk rock.
So, if you’re looking for something vastly different to fill your Christmas party playlist this winter, this is definitely the album for you. It’s guaranteed to get everyone singing along, and rocking out while doing so which will fortunately keep all reputations intact!