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What I Really Want for Christmas [Content/Copy-Protected CD]

Brian Wilson Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 13.49
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Product Details


1. The Man With All The Toys
2. What I Really Want For Christmas
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
4. O Holy Night
5. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
6. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
7. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
8. First Noel
9. Christmasey
10. Little Saint Nick
11. Deck The Halls
12. Auld Lang Syne
13. On Christmas Day
14. Joy To The World
15. Silent Night

Product Description

Amazon.ca

A new Brian Wilson record is always cause for celebration, even if it turns out to be an album of Christmas music, his third such venture in 40 years. What I Really Want for Christmas features Wilson and the crack band he employed on Smile putting their spin on 10 traditional favorites, plus new versions of the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" and "The Man With All the Toys" and two originals cowritten with Bernie Taupin and Jimmy Webb. Though they don't rise to the level of his best work (admittedly the tallest of orders), the title track and "Christmasey" prove Wilson can still turn out a catchy melody when he wants to, and the disc as a whole shows his arranging chops are as strong as ever, if no longer as innovative. Like Smile, What I Really Want for Christmas sometimes suffers in comparison to the Beach Boys--Wilson dedicates it to his "beloved brothers Carl and Dennis who I miss singing carols with" (as do we)--but occasionally, as on "O Holy Night," one feels the old soul and spirit shining through. Though it may not merit a spot next to The Beach Boys' Christmas Album and A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector as a classic of the genre, it's still a joy to hear Wilson singing the songs he's loved since childhood. If this is your kind of music, this is your kind of album. --Benjamin Lukoff

Product Description

His stunning first solo Christmas album! Includes two new holiday standards, the title track and Christmasey (with lyrics by Jimmy Webb), plus brilliant renditions of Auld Lang Syne; Deck the Halls; The First Noel; O Holy Night ; new versions of the Beach Boys' classics Little Saint Nick and The Man with All the Toys , and more!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much more than I expected. Oct. 19 2005
By Michael Stack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have a confession to make. I didn't want to like this album-- Brian Wilson, after the artistic and critical triumph of "Smile" puts together a Christmas album. I mean, a Christmas album? Aren't these the bottom of the barrel of bad marketing ideas from the '60s? But you know, I'm a huge fan, so I dutifully picked it up on the day of release and eventually popped it into my CD player in my car, my expectations were about as low as they could get.

You can, of course, imagine my surprise when I thought it was fantastic.

Wilson assembled his touring band, augmented by a pair of extra horns and a string quartet, to tackle eight Christmas standards, a pair of Beach Boys Christmas classics, and a couple new songs. With top notch musicianship, a small orchestra at his disposal, and vocalists about as good as they come, one thing is increasingly clear to me-- Brian Wilson's power as an arranger is remarkably intact, moreso than one would ever guess based on his output of the past thirty years-- don't get me wrong, I loved "Love You" and "Brian Wilson" and a substantial amount of other material Wilson has done, but they were all missing some piece of magic, some magic that was captured on the 2004 re-recording of "Smile", and it's as though it was infectious. The arrangements on here are subtle, clever and inventive-- full of the kind of things that made a confessed music snob like myself excited about the Beach Boys in the first place.

Look no further than "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" for an example of what I mean-- the arrangement picks up a pseudo-Eastern European feel to it, sounding almost like a Russian folk song on electric guitars and a superb lead vocal by a more-confident-sounding Brian Wilson, superb vocal harmonies. It's got that certain-something that's been missing. This is pretty much true of about all the classics on here-- the arrangements are really a blast-- "Deck the Halls" picks up a funky, almost late '90s Chili Pepper sound, "O Holy Night" has all the subtleties that made the old Beach Boys recordings great, and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"-- it's just one of those pieces. Opening with a piano and flute theme statement then moving onto bass harmonica and harpsichord for the vocal passages and eventually tagging in a double time chorus. Bass harmonica and harpsichord? There was only one arranger who ever though in those fashions. And certainly the a capella "Auld Lang Syne" is guaranteed to make any harmony fan happy.

The two Beach Boys pieces get faithful reinterpretations-- "Little Saint Nick" ends up being hot and exciting. The new pieces are decent enough-- "What I Really Want For Christmas" ends up being a pretty, laid back piece with fantastic, subtle percussion and a great, lush, string arrangement. "Christmasey" I'm a little less wild on, it's got a somewhat frantic and rushed feel to it that doesn't suit the piece.

The album is augmented by a trio of "bonus tracks"-- Christmas song "On Christmas Day" that Wilson recorded several years ago and released on his website, a moody arrangement of "Joy to the World" that ended up on a compilation in the late '90s, and the "Silent Night" arrangement that used to play on Wilson's website a couple Christmases ago. All of it is nice to have on disc.

For someone who's not wild on Christmas albums, I have to say I really enjoyed this one-- it's got my excited for the possibility of that rock and roll album Brian keeps saying he wants to do. Recommended.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heartbreaking Dec 18 2005
By Vince Leo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In Brian Wilson's world, christmas feels more like loss than like presents. It's not just that he dedicates this cd to his two "beloved brothers" who he misses singing christmas carols with. It's also his voice--older, harder, less resilient. what i really want for christmas is sad and beautiful like a childhood memory of christmas past: wishing the wonder could recreate itself, realizing it won't, and expanding the bittersweet knowledge of experience into something clear and lasting. most of the songs surprise, but the a capella auld lang syne is the diamond in the collection, arranged and sung as if it were the last song being sung on the last day of the world.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brian Wilson Finds Christmas Oct. 19 2005
By Jeff Meier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I had October 18th (the release date of the cd) on my calendar.

There was no doubt I would have this one on the day of release.

Listening with my wife and teenage daughter...."goosebumps" galore. The harmonic texturing on "O Holy Night" is inspiring.

The fun and spirit of Christmas is really nicely puntuated with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".......is there anything Brian Wilson can't do to bring musical imagination of old standards like this and "Deck the Halls"?

Other highlights include "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "Joy to The World" on the sacred side of things. The remake of "Man With All the Toys" really has energy and spirit...as good or better than the original. "Little Saint Nick" didn't seem to have the punch and enthusiasm in the backing vocals as the original.

I really liked "On Christmas Day" a bonus track...a very reflective ballad. The new originals were arranged and performed beautifully....but not real "grabbers" initially. They do grow with repeated plays.

All in all.....a very wonderful album....a tree trimmer.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning production! Oct. 20 2005
By Record Producer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It is now safe to say that there have been two periods where Brian Wilson has been at his peak. The first is the well-documented period from about 1964 - 1970, when his productions, arrangements, and performances created masterpieces like "The Little Girl I Once Knew," "California Girls," "Cool, Cool Water," "Salt Lake City," "Busy Doin' Nothing," "Add Some Music To Your Day," and, of course, most of the TODAY and all of the PET SOUNDS albums. Not to mention a ton of other brilliant compositions/productions from one of the few contemporary musicians who can REALLY be considered a genius.

The period from 1971 - 2003 gave us many wonderful creations as well, but there was a lot of hit-and-miss in there. Still, we got to savor pieces like "Til I Die," "Marcella," "Funky Pretty," his Fairy Tale, parts of LOVE YOU, and a few tracks on Brian's solo releases starting with BRIAN WILSON, and on through IMAGINATION and GETTIN' IN OVER MY HEAD.

But as enjoyable as some of the moments were on Brian's solo and group work over the last few decades, with last year's SMILE, Brian Wilson recaptured the brilliance of his first great period, as his new snatches of music fit in seamlessly with the old ones, and performance-wise, there was almost nothing that could be faulted.

And now with WHAT I REALLY WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, Brian is back with another absolutely brilliant album. Sure, he didn't write most of the music, but you'd almost think he did, as every measure is instilled with his arranging and production talents that set his work apart from everybody else making music on this planet over the last fifty years. And he's not just aping approaches taken on his classic Beach Boys' songs -- his inventiveness in interpreting these hoary classics has revitalized them like they haven't been in ages.

The creativity, the beauty, and the humor that he has imparted into these productions separates this Christmas album from almost all others. There is so much to listen to in each track, which is the hallmark of almost all previous Brian Wilson classics. Some of his musical embellishments create those spine-tingling feelings you got when you first heard moments like the "deep and wide" vocal burst from "Time To Get Alone" and, well, if you're a Brian Wilson fan, you know what I'm talking about. But it's not just "awe" -- there are many instances on this musical Christmas present that are so brilliantly joyful, clever, and funny that you can't help grinning from ear to ear.

Brian obviously ENJOYED putting this album together, and that enjoyment will be relayed to you every time you listen to it. I don't know how long this second great Brian Wilson Period will last, so relish it while it's happening. Right now the man is on a roll, and we should be very thankful this holiday season that he has chosen to share his seemingly-limitless talents with us once again.

To show that I'm not completely blind regarding Mr. Wilson, I did notice a few times when his singing was a little rushed or behind the beat, and he sometimes seems to be trying so hard to make every word sound as clearly as possible that he forgets to accent certain words and/or syllables the way they should be for stronger dramatic impact. But this in no way detracted from any enjoyment, and as soon as I listened to the music once or twice, I forgot it ever sounded "different" from what I expected. I am not criticizing the sound of his voice, which is as beautiful as it was on SMILE, but over the past few decades I've noticed that he could stand to work a little harder on how he emphasizes certain sounds and words in his singing.

And as for the idiot who gave this one star because he can't play CDs on his poorly-conceived audio system, what a self-centered individual this must be to try to bring down a rating when his review has NOTHING to do with the music that Brian Wilson obviously knocked himself out to create. I'm confident that the other four- and five-star reviews will soon raise this album's rating back to where it belongs.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Christmas Vibe Oct. 22 2005
By Calif. Sun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This Christmas CD is much more than just another holiday album. Brian has taken the eight traditional songs and given them a new and fresh sound with his wonderful arrangements and vocal complexities. The two new songs will most definitely become Christmas classics over night. Little Saint Nick and The Man With All The Toys sound better than the originals. When is this man going to stop? I must admit when he said he was going to do a Christmas CD, my first reaction was why? After one listen the answer is obvious, the man is full of joy and he wants to share it with the world. Way to go Brian, you bring Joy to our World every day.

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