Written By: Sam Marshall
Flashback to a classic Christmas album.
Originality: (3.0 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (5.0 / 5) Lyrics: (4.0 / 5) Production: (5.0 / 5) Average: (4.3 / 5)
In 1964, a huge time for progressive music making, not only in terms of music, but in terms of recording technology as well, the somewhat small-fry Beach Boys released their self titled Christmas album. At the time, the Beach Boys were known for their soft surf rock, and were not hugely successful or regarded as “credible”. With the release of Christmas Album came a chance for the band, under the direction of Brian Wilson to exude the creativity and musicality that they would be known for the rest of the bands lifetime.
Christmas Album is in many ways an album of its time, and many of the aspects of it are very 1964; the 40 piece orchestra, the Phil Spector “wall of sound” effects, but to listen to it now, gives all the nostalgic feelings that you want when you hear a “classic” Christmas album. Wilson’s musical flair really comes to life on the album, and the American band arrangement style that is used on the album works really well with the seasonal theme, allowing for the percussion figures and vaudeville-esque circus additions. When you hear songs like “Little Saint Nick” in a supermarket, the intensity and intricacy of the arrangement is lost compared to on a proper sound system, and this is the same for the whole album. The Beach Boys embrace some classic American composers in the rich, rural musical arrangements, reminiscent of Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin.
Whilst much of the album (“Santa’s Beard”, “Christmas Day”) dresses Christmas staples up in the Beach Boys surf rock sound, there are other parts on the album that hint at a future sound for the band. The version of “White Christmas” is full of lush harmony and 19th Century orchestration, and tracks like “We Three Kings of Orient” Are allude to the dense beauty of tracks suck as “Til I Die”, which doesn’t actually come out until 1971. This is arguably testament to the Beach Boys sound, and collective abilities of the five. The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album still makes a perfect festive album for everyone!