With the advent of the all-pleasing, rock-star Xmas album in 1987, the "A Very Special Christmas" folk seemed to have their antlers on straight. At least then there was a thin veneer of charity (Special Olympics) -- and even a fair bit of traditionalism -- to justify the proximity of Run DMC to Stevie Nicks. Strange then that the "TRL Christmas" record, born in a time of charity whitewash, could be such an insipid an affair.
Kicking off with bad girl Willa Ford's "Santa Baby (Gimme Gimme Gimme)" -- not a cover of either, but a slutty paean for boyfriends in speedos, really -- the record doesn't promise much more than a red-and-green-hued version of the current pop-chart promiscuity. And in that sense it doesn't disappoint. Blink 182 jingle their coal with "I Won't Be Home for Christmas," spewing charming reminders like "it's time to be nice to people you can't stand all year," before detailing an Xmas jail experience where "a guy named Bubba unwrapped my package." With dusty, Jeeped-out releases from 'N Sync, Christina Aguilera and TLC married to senseless new ones from Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth and LFO, the party couldn't really get much worse. That is until Trans-Siberian Orchestra (made up of transformed, operatic metalheads Savatage) close the thing out with the children's-choir drenched "Christmas Canon." Blech, stay in bed.