Listening Booth: Rosie Thomas, “A Very Rosie Christmas”

Rosie Thomas – A Very Rosie Christmas (Nettwerk, 2008)
purchase this album (Amazon)

Okay, yes, I know — everyone hates Christmas music, and anyway, we’re about to bombard you poor bastards with 25 days of the stuff during Mellowmas III: Season of the Bitch. Honestly, it wasn’t my intention to even talk about holiday music until Mellowmas kicked off on December 1, and I certainly didn’t plan on reviewing any of the new yuletide titles that were released this year. And that goes double for A Very Rosie Christmas, an album that, at first glance, left me thinking that a certain pumpkinheaded former co-host of The View was cutting duets with Elmo again.

Life is full of surprises, though. This silver platter came to me courtesy of our pal Nell at Nettwerk, bundled with a little note that said “Hey Jeff, thought you might enjoy this.” I promptly shoved it to the bottom of my “in” pile and snorted a silent snort at Nell — you thought I might enjoy this? You don’t know me at all! AT ALL! I mean, shit, the cover photo makes it look like one of those post-ironic song poem compilations, and I need to listen to another album by someone described as a “Seattle-based indie darling” like I need a hole in the head. Matter of fact, I only listened to this because I thought there was a small chance it might contain some Mellowmas contenders.

And you know what? It turns out Nell knows me better than I thought she did. I owe you an apology, Nell from Nettwerk, and a promise to never silently snort at you again, because A Very Rosie Christmas is actually sort of awesome. I’m not kidding, holiday music haters! It’s honestly one of the best Christmas albums I’ve heard in a very long time. It doesn’t rank up there with Phil Spector’s classic compilation, but it’d definitely go on my list of top seasonal albums, which is a very short list indeed, because my relationship with Christmas music is, as Facebook would say, “complicated.”

I digress. The point is, A Very Rosie Christmas covers all your holiday bases — it’s a little sweet, a little solemn, a little funny, and it even makes room for an instrumental (as, Thomas says, “homage to Mannheim Steamroller”). She looks like she might be fucking with you on the cover, but she totally isn’t; this album doesn’t have an arched eyebrow anywhere on its cuddly little body. You still aren’t going to want to come near it between January and November, but for those few most wonderful weeks at the end of the year, A Very Rosie Christmas will single-handedly kick the ass of your holiday blues. Give a listen to “Why Can’t It Be Christmastime All Year?” (download) and see if you don’t agree.




  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    Agreed, Jeff. I wasn't prepared to like ANY Christmas music this season, but Rosie's album did it. She managed to make “Christmas Don't Be Late” (aka “The Chipmunk Song”) into a tone of beautiful yearning. I could have done without the last two tracks on the disc, but everything else is really wonderful.

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    Agreed, Jeff. I wasn't prepared to like ANY Christmas music this season, but Rosie's album did it. She managed to make “Christmas Don't Be Late” (aka “The Chipmunk Song”) into a tone of beautiful yearning. I could have done without the last two tracks on the disc, but everything else is really wonderful.

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    Agreed, Jeff. I wasn't prepared to like ANY Christmas music this season, but Rosie's album did it. She managed to make “Christmas Don't Be Late” (aka “The Chipmunk Song”) into a tone of beautiful yearning. I could have done without the last two tracks on the disc, but everything else is really wonderful.