By Danny Stoakes
It’s getting to be that time year again, Christmas adverts on the tele and new Christmas records. This one surprised me, The Goo Goo Dolls with their new Christmas release, It’s Christmas All Over. And it’s great. This is the Goo Goo Dolls first ever Christmas record and I love it, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac have excelled, this record really encapsulates the season perfectly.
Opening with ‘It’s Christmas All Over’, this really sets the tone for the entire album. When you think of a typical Christmas song, this is the sound you think of. It’s bright, happy and full of joy. But even this album has a few surprises as I learn very early on. The second track is a change in direction and a departure from the Goo Goo Dolls signature sound, this is a big band sound, complete with swinging brass. Think those classic Christmas film soundtracks and you’re nearly there. It’s smooth and delightful. ‘Shake Hands with Santa Claus’ will leave you feeling warm inside and longing to reach for a mince pie.
‘This is Christmas’ is a guitar led ballad, more in keeping with the ‘typical’ guitar led sound of the band. I love the melody, and John’s voice fits the song perfectly. I guess they had to throw one ‘Goo Goo Dolls esque’ track in, to satisfy.
I loved ‘You Aint Got Nothing’, with its walking bass line. This will have you bopping around after one too many sherries. It’s got a great call and response, almost in the style of Minnie The Moocher, just a real feel good song. Add to that the palm muted trumpets and you’ve got a real party atmosphere. Quite possibly my favourite track on the album.
Although, another album highlight for me is John and Robby’s rendition of Hark The Herald Angels Sing. Opening up with the sound of the New York subway, the song is stripped back and musically, quite restrained, with its keyboard led accompaniment, but then the sax doesn’t so much kick in, just floats into the song for the middle eight. Just gorgeous!
The album concludes with a medley of all our favourite Christmas songs, ‘The Christmas Party’ is performed by the Union Square 5 and features jazzed up versions of Jingle Bells, Baby its Cold Outside and Winter Wonderland to name but a few. A really great finale!
I personally loved this album. Its fun, light hearted and I especially liked the fact that the band didn’t play it safe and just do Christmas songs in the style of the Goo Goo Dolls. I do love that the band have experimented with different sounds and in fact, I think it’s that, that makes this album such a strong Christmas record. This is an exceptional album, that you can’t help but love. I really hope that by this time next year, we will be able to see the Goo Goo Dolls perform some of these tracks live.
Released By: Warner Records
Release Date: 30th October 2020