Album Review: Bowling for Soup – Merry Flippin’ Christmas Vol. 1 And 2 (Brando Records)
Of course. Why on Earth wouldn’t Bowling for Soup have thrown out a Christmas record or two? It’s seems such an easy combo. The band’s feel good pop punk sound and the cheese of Christmas. So here it is. Merry Flippin’ Christmas Vol. 1 & 2. Combining the earlier release of Vol. 1 in 2009 with Vol. 2, for a release in 2011.
Made up of original tracks and the odd cover, things do not start of strongly for this Christmas album. Both Father Christmas and Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy lacking in both the fun pop-punk factor and Christmassy feel. Of the two, it’s the latter that outright sucks though. Devoid of life, annoyingly repetitive and incredibly bland. At least with the former, you have that Bowling For Soup’s trademark chorus.
Things do improve though with a good cover of the Mariah Carey Christmas classic, All I Want for Christmas is You. A horrid track at the best of times, Bowling for Soup don’t make it any worse but it’s a strong vocal performance from Jarrett.
We then get something really enjoyable with a classy and festive cover of José Feliciano‘s Feliz Navidad. A track that really doesn’t have quite the airplay in the UK as it does in the US. However, covers like this will certainly help its case as Bowling for Soup have some fun, even throwing in a kazoo at one stage in the song.
Fun over, it’s now time for two run of the mill versions. Frosty the Snowman and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Neither are inspired covers, the former in particular has been done by everyone it seems and to really make a mark these days, it needs to be really special. That’s not the case here.
Unfortunately things don’t improve (aside from the fun falalalala part) on Bobby Wants A Puppy Dog for Christmas and Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight. Both tracks stick solidly to the Bowling for Soup playbook and, as is often the case with the band, the shtick is getting old already.
It’s certainty inoffensive, that much can be said. Even a track like We’re a Couple of Misfits has very little bark, let alone bite. At least it is easy to singalong too.
That was where Vol. 1 originally ended and there’s a noticeable difference as we go into Vol. 2 and the intro of Merry Frickin Christmas (Happy Freakin’ New Year). It’s got a bit more of a punk rock edge to it and the vocals are less front and centre but lyrically it’s just Bowling for Soup declaring that this is their new Christmas record.
The punky energy continues into the catchy Even Santa Needs a Break Sometimes before we get a ballad in the form of I Miss You Most on Christmas. The former is pretty damn enjoyable while the latter is certainly sweet.
Do yourself a favour though and skip the next and penultimate track, Corner Store on Christmas Day. A ‘re-telling’ of the 12 Days of Christmas but in Bowling for Soup’s comedic way. The problem is that it’s over 6 minutes long and just like the song it is inspired by, repeats as the countdown continues. It stops being amusing very quickly and, that the melody is hardly worth get excited about, doesn’t help.
Which brings us to the end and the obligatory version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas. No complaints here, it’s a decent version with just enough pop-punk snark to make it memorable.
Bowling for Soup – Merry Flippin’ Christmas Vol. 1 & 2 Full Track Listing:
1. Father Christmas
2. Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy
3. All I Want for Christmas is You
4. Feliz Navidad
5. Frosty the Snowman
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
7. Bobby Wants A Puppy Dog for Christmas
8. Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight
9. We’re A Couple of Misfits
10. Merry Frickin Christmas (Happy Freakin’ New Year)
11. Even Santa Needs a Break Sometimes
12. I Miss You Most On Christmas
13. Corner Store On Christmas Day
14. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Bowling for Soup - Merry Flippin' Christmas Vol. 1 And 2 (Brando Records)
The Final Score - 5/10