The Fifteenth Day of Mellowmas: Un-Wonderful Mellowmastime
Jason: Can I start out today’s Mellowmas entry with a long-distance dedication?
Jeff: Oooh, is this Mellowmas for lovers only?
Jason: Oh, hell no. I’d like to dedicate today’s track to Jeff Vrabel who, as far as I know, doesn’t read any of this shit.
Jeff: Uh oh.
Jason: I mean, maybe he does. But he doesn’t comment or retweet it, even though we bust our asses retweeting whatever he writes about Bruce Springsteen. But I do know he hates today’s track. Without even hearing it, I know he hates it.
Jeff: Shit! I was afraid I knew where this was going.
Jason: Yup! It’s a cover of the song that needs no cover, ever: “Wonderful Christmastime”!
Jeff: You say “Mellowmas” and “Jeff Vrabel,” and I hear “Wonderful Christmastime.” AND NOW I WON’T HEAR ANYTHING ELSE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuugh.
Jason: I think you’ve just told me, but refresh my memory: do you hate “Wonderful Christmastime”?
Jeff: I don’t hate it like Vrabel hates it, but I’d rather not listen to it, ever.
Jason: See, I like “Wonderful Christmastime.” Granted, I have many well-documented issues, but I like it.
Jeff: It’s just so dumb. And such an earworm. See, it’s already looping through my brain, and we haven’t even started yet.
Jason: It’s both of those things, yes.
Jeff: GET OUT OF MY BRAIN McCARTNEY
Jason: But I also think it’s got great synthesizer, and you can’t deny it’s a truly unique Christmas song. There’s not another song out there that sounds like it.
Jeff: For which I’m grateful.
Jason: You and many people, I’m sure. I know most of them. And I agree that one version is enough. Even more than “Last Christmas,” I think this song never needs a cover. And yet, here we are, with a cover of “Wonderful Christmastime” by Kelly Rowland.
Jeff: A singer who never needs to record a solo song meets a song that never needs another cover!
Jeff: Kelly Rowland: the Rosalind Ashford of modern R&B.
Jason: And do you know how I found this song?
Jeff: By lurking in the coldest corners of Jeff Vrabel’s nightmares?
Jason: YOU SENT IT TO ME.
Jeff: I…wait, what?
Jason: …and just like that, every evil eye glaring at me turned over to you.
Jeff: You must be mistaken.
Jason: You sent me NOW (That’s What I Call Christmas), Vol. 4.
Jeff: I kind of remember this. It has some newly recorded tracks, doesn’t it?
Jason: It’s a bit of both. And I was grateful for the gift, because not only was I able to replace some of my poor recordings of Christmas classics with these higher-fidelity versions, but I was able to send shit like this right back to you.
Jeff: sigh A Mellowmas Miracle.
Jason: You’re welcome. So the question is: can Kelly change my mind about “Wonderful Christmastime” covers? Can it make you change your mind altogether?
Jeff: THAT’S the question?
Jason: Can it drive Jeff Vrabel to throw himself off a cliff? I think it can, at the very least, accomplish one of these.
Jeff: Those are pretty tall orders. I’m not sure a Kelly Rowland song has ever inspired anyone to do anything.
Jason: …go back and listen to old Destiny’s Child records?
Jeff: Maybe it’ll inspire McCartney to order his publisher to automatically reject any further requests to cover this song.
Jason: See? So some good COULD come out of this! Remember: at the end of the day, we both want the same thing.
Jeff: The mood is right and the spirit’s up, I suppose.
Jeff: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhggggggghhhhh. Oh no.
Jason: Wow! Just when you thought synthesizers couldn’t get any worse!
Jeff: Why does she sound whiter than McCartney?
Jason: Hippity-hop, Jeff!
Jeff: Today’s drum program brought to you by Ritalin!
Jason: Oh, she’s taking the vocal somewhere else! Just what we needed!
Jeff: Taking it right to the corner of Uninspired and Stop It!
Jeff: Ah, the children’s choir is Kelly. Of course it is. I was kind of hoping it’d be Mariah Carey, but this works too.
Jason: She’s retaining some elements, but she’s still trying to make it her own. And none of it is working.
Jeff: The word is out, Jason. About the town. Kelly Rowland has no career.
Jason: “They sing ding dong.” Word, Kelly.
Jeff: Specifically, they sing it when they see her. “Yo, ding dong!”
Jason: There’s still, like, a minute left.
Jeff: Oh God. STOP IT KELLY STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT
Jason: It’s like the record is stuck.
Jeff: Every extra round through that chorus is like a needle in my ear.
Jason: If you want to make this song a dance track, go remix the original. Don’t try and do a new version. It’s unnecessary.
Jeff: Why is this song still going?
Jason: At 3:41, it’s only six seconds shorter than Macca’s version.
Jeff: And yet it feels two minutes longer. Hold on, I’m punching myself in the face for sending this to you.
Jason: I’m so happy right now. You know why?
Jeff: Because the party’s on and the feeling’s here?
Jason: I’m finally getting you back for “Last Christmas,” fuckface.
Jeff: That doesn’t mean you have more of these somewhere, does it?
Jason: Hey, you know what would be even worse than this?
Jeff: Um, nothing?
Jason: A four-minute, dramatic indie hipster version.
Jason: Oh yes.
Jeff: Stop this.
Jason: Too late. It’s on its way to you, and now you have to listen.
Jeff: groan It’s in my browser. Well, I deserve this. Let’s get down to it.
Jeff: No! Not at all!
Jason: Die again!
Jeff: It starts with silence, which I appreciate. But I don’t think this was encoded at the right speed.
Jason: That’s right. It was encoded at “indie hipster.” Which is my least favorite speed.
Jeff: Is this Iron & Wine?
Jason: This is Tom MacRae. And no, I have no idea who that is, except he’s on Nettwerk, who released this compilation.
Jeff: I’ll have you know my wife likes this version. “Poor guy, he’s lonely. He wants to believe it’s a wonderful Christmastime! Awww.”
Jason: Listen to those dramatic pauses! And the cello!
Jeff: “It’s heartbreaking! His dog just died!”
Jason: I hope your wife asks you to play it again!
Jeff: I hope your wife kicks you in the jimmy! Okay, the cello is pretty. Oooh, dramatic! I like this part. Suck on that, Hare!
Jason: I don’t understand you.
Jeff: Wait, I just looked at how much is left in the song, and now I want to cry.
Jason: He just took the first two lines of one verse, and sang the second two lines of a different verse, so they didn’t rhyme. “That’s how indie I am!”
Jeff: END SONG END
Jason: “I don’t conform to RHYMES! I’ll end the song with ten seconds of silence to prove how much I don’t conform to McCartney’s feelings of a wonderful Christmastime!”
Jeff: THANK YOU FOR ENDING, SONG
Jason: Now, I do, in fact, have other versions of this song. But I’m not an asshole like you, so I’m not going to torture you further.
Jeff: For the first time all morning, I feel like it really is a wonderful Christmastime.
Jason: Enjoy, everybody! Especially you, Vrabel!
Jeff: Best of luck with whatever it is you do, Kelly Rowland! Cheer up, indie guy!
Jason: Next year, I’m crossing my fingers for a Rowland/MacRae duet.