People hate Christmas songs almost as much as they love them. The cloyingly sentimental lyrics and relentlessly cheerful melodies are ground so thoroughly into our DNA that they become Pavlovian in their effect, triggering a complex mix of childlike elation and existentialist dread. So how do you engage in the Magic of Christmas™ without opening up a vein and painting the room red? Through the sodden magic of Corey’s Classic Christmas.
The brainchild of local musician Corey J. Brewer (Cold Lake, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death) these pickled interpretations of holiday classics tweak the manic energy of the season while still allowing you to wallow in yuletide nostalgia. Now on the 4th volume, what started out as a winking gift to his wife has become an annual local tradition, as important to guiding depressed Seattleites through this gray season of consumption as the Dina Martina Christmas Show or the surf-rock carols of Dancer & Prancer. Brewer takes scratchy instrumental Christmas records as a jumping off point and goes full-drunken uncle, singing in a tonally-challenged and rhythmically-loose baritone while recontextualizing (and forgetting) lyrics in a not always wholesome manner. Along the way some surprise guests stop by (Spencer Moody, Andrea Zollo, Ben Wildenhaus) to drop some verses between the maudlin soliloquies.
With so many seasonal songs floating around the public domain, expect a fresh batch from Brewer each year (he was this close to getting Mary J. Blige into the studio for this volume, but alas…). So mix up a pitcher of warm nog, retreat to the basement to wrap the Bratz Baybz playset your niece begged for, and make Corey’s Classic Christmas a new holiday tradition.
Photo by Andrea Zollo