Eddie Floyd is a soul legend, who recorded several fine singles for Stax, including the ingenious "Knock on Wood." Now he is 75 and back with an album of Christmas originals, I'll Be Your Santa Claus. You'd probably expect the title track to be a little creepy (Santa gives toys, he doesn't throw dick, damn it), but not this level of moany creepiness:
I don't usually enjoy doured-up covers of pop songs whose cheery arrangement barely obscured inherent sadness in the first place (see Frente!'s cover of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle"). However, taking a little pep out of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" serves it well — as much as I like the original, it sounds anesthetized. "Last Chrismas" needs to deal with its feelings, damn it. It purports to every year and always fails.
As long as there is Christmas, there will be attempts to spruce up and breathe new life into Mariah Carey's most enduring contribution to pop music, her 1994 holiday classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Mimi has sanctioned a a bass version, a house version, an Extra Festive version, a SuperFestive! version with Justin Bieber. But the rendition she performed on last night's Fallon, alongside Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, and a chorus of actual children, is by far the best spin put on this thing since the Phil Spector-inspired original. Few people could pull off the classroom-instrument arrangement with the grace of the "eternally 12" Mariah, and if there's any perfect time to act like a child, surely it is Christmas.
The Chloe YouTube series (performed by Drew Droege and directed by Jim Hansen) is as much a commentary on Chloë Sevigny's ridiculous persona as it is the ridiculousness of celebrity impersonation, having spiraled so far from resembling the actual actress...probably. Who knows? Anyway, this reimagining of "The 12 Days of Christmas" is a total masterpiece (full disclosure: it's also barely a song).
Tonight, NBC aired its annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting special. It was boring! Well, except for the part where Justin Bieber debuted the music video for his duet with Mariah Carey of "All I Want for Christmas Is You (Superfestive!)." Because what the hell?