November 23, 2010 - Warner Bros.
Compilations are always hit and miss. Whether it’s pop cover songs, tribute albums to fallen rockers or, in this case, a stab at holiday and wintery tunes, there are always going to be individual entries that delight and others that dismay. Consistency and flow are two often insurmountable obstacles for a really good comp. In the case of Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In, it definitely suffers from some patchy areas and general confusion regarding the chosen lineup. For instance, we jump from Devo’s kinetic and downright weird “Merry Something To You,” right into a canned muzak instrumental of “Carol Of The Bells” by Canadian composer David Foster. Holy left-hand turn, Batman!Add to that a few inexcusable inclusions (Tegan And Sara doing “The Chipmunk Song,” seriously?) and this is a tough slog through cheeseball schlock (the Ready Set’s “Wonderful Christmastime”) and traditional holiday carol pandering (the Spill Canvas’ “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”).
Good entries? Glad you asked. There are a scant few; not the least of which are Oasis’ rocked out version of “Merry Christmas Everybody,” the Goo Goo Dolls’ wholly original “Better Days” and Foxy Shazam’s epic version of Jesus Christ Superstar’s “Heaven On Their Minds.” House Of Heroes also somehow manage to make a song every Christmas caroler never wants to sing again (“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”) sound endearing and even a smidge thrilling. (Maybe all traditional carols need the rocked-out treatment?) Put those four standout tracks on a Gift Wrapped EP, then we’d be in business.