Sony Music presents Top 40 Country Christmas - 48 holiday tracks from such artists as Elvis Presley, Connie Smith, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and many others.
John Fahey is a visionary, an iconoclast, and a plain old American weirdo. He's also a brilliant acoustic guitarist, whose earnestness is matched only by his oblique sense of humor. These performances–ranging from the cheery "Joy to the World" and "We Three Kings" to the thoughtful "Bells of St. Mary's" and "In the Bleak Midwinter"–are pretty straightforward though. Some tend toward the academic, but all are quite beautiful in their own reserved way, making this the perfect unintrusive album for a quiet Christmas gathering or an evening by the hearth. The notoriously squirrely Fahey might be the last guy you'd invite over for eggnog, but you'd be foolish not to let his exquisite music into your home.
Not only is The Nightmare Before Christmas one of the best musicals of the past two decades; it may well be Danny Elfman's masterpiece, successfully integrating his main influences (from Cab Calloway to Nino Rota) into a fantastic whole. The first disc of this reissue features the original soundtrack, its songs still teetering between dark humor and poetic flights of fancy; this so-called kids' music is at least as sophisticated and skilled as anything you're likely to hear on Broadway. The second disc includes demo versions of four songs on which Elfman plays and sings everything, and five new covers of some of Nightmare's best-loved songs. Marilyn Manson successfully applies his spooky Weimar-circus style on "This Is Halloween" while Panic! At the Disco's lushly orchestrated take on the same tune is closer to the original. Fiona Apple's poignant "Sally's Song" is enhanced by very nice string charts, and She Wants Revenge does a disco take on "Kidnap the Sandy Claws." Best perhaps is Fall Out Boy's cover of "What's This?" which sounds like an unexpected cross between the Beach Boys and Queen. A highly recommended set.