The Fifteenth Day of Mellowmas: A Mellowmas Carole

Jason: Oh look, another package on my doorstep!

Jeff: Oooh! Who’s it addressed to?


Jeff: leprechaun dance

Jason: “Jason Bieber Hare.” The only thing that makes me happy is knowing that every time you use it, your kids have less money for college.

Jeff: Shit, by the time my kids are old enough for college, America won’t even have roads. I’m spending it all now.

Jason: I need to call Amazon and have them suspend your “one-click” settings. It always leads to heartache.

Jeff: I think you mean “hilarity.”

Jason: Like today, for example.

Jeff: Yes, speaking of hilarity, how about this package?

Jason: Carole King: A Holiday Carole.

Carole King, "A Holiday Carole"

Jeff: I can’t believe this didn’t happen sometime in the ’80s. How is she just now making a holiday album?

Jason: I was just about to say the same thing. A Carole King holiday album in the ’70s? I would have been all over that shit.

Jeff: Oh, that would have been wonderful. And in the ’80s, it would have been wonderfully cheesy. Now? Ehhhhhh. Although the album cover is sort of promising, in a sad Mellowmas way.

Jason: The front cover is like a frame, and on the back is a little cardboard cut-out stand for the frame.

Jeff: Look at her face. It’s like she’s shrugging and saying “Eh. What are you gonna do?”

Jason: And then she gave the cover to her 15-year-old nephew, who’s just learning Photoshop.

Jeff: I love that it comes with a cut-out stand. Have you stood it up on your desk? Or — even better — your nightstand?

Jason: I should leave it on my wife’s side of the bed. “Hi! I’m Carole King. Merry Christmas!”

Jeff: I love the thought of you rolling over for a drink of water in the middle of the night and seeing Carole King’s half-ashamed smile in your face.

Jason: Oh, look. It’s produced by Goffin!

Jeff: Yes, it’s a family affair. At least one Kunkel was involved, too.

Jason: (Louise Goffin.) sad trombone

Jeff: I’m always sort of intrigued when Jewish artists release holiday albums. A little less intrigued when Carole King does it, as it turns out, but still. She could be part of a Happy Hebrew Holidays package tour with Kenny G and Neil Diamond.

Jason: That’s one sad tour, buddy.

Jeff: Oh, indeed. What’s that venue Air Supply always plays at by your house? It would make its New York stop there.

Jason: Westbury Music Fair! Oh, for sure. So let’s see what Carole has to offer, shall we?

Jeff: The ragged remnants of a once-proud singing voice? Oh, wait, you didn’t mean that.

Jason: Let’s listen to “Carol of the Bells.” She already gets a point in my book for not turning the song title into a name pun like she did with the album. Although I do like the idea of her name being in every song title.

“Have Yourself a Carole Little Christmas.”

Jeff: I know, right?

Jason: “Do You Carole What I Carole.”

“Everyday Will Be Like a Caroleday.”

Jeff: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Carole.”

Jason: And, of course, “Carolekkah Prayer.”

This song is short. It might be over too quickly. We might need a second song.

Jeff: I don’t think you mean what you’re saying. Let’s just get Carole’s Carol over with first.

Carole King — Carole of the Bells (download)
Carole King, "A Holiday Carole"
From A Holiday Carole

Jason: Piano sounds nice.

Wait, what? Well, that’s obnoxious.

Jeff: Those voices were kind of creepy, weren’t they?

Jason: But I know what I’m buying Carole for Hanukkah this year: A pop filter.

Jeff: Yeah, I noticed that! She sounds out of breath, like Wing.

Jason: Maybe she recorded the vocals from her bed.

Jeff: Ding, ding dong ding!


Jason: (Ding!) (Dong!)

Jeff: This used to be one of my favorite holiday songs.

Jason: Whoa, there was some attempt at soulful backing vocals for a second there. Here they come again!

Jeff: This is a lot creepier than I would have thought it could be. That was all kinds of ominous.

Jason: We should run a contest for our readers: how many miles separated Carole and the backing musicians? I’m guessing at least 250.

Jeff: You think? I still imagine that she does everything live in the studio. But that’s probably naive.

Jason: Look, the version is creepy and weird, I’ll give you that, but there’s no excuse for that kind of vocal production.

Jeff: No, I agree with you. It makes me wonder if maybe Carole knows something about the history of this song that we don’t.

Jason: How so?

Jeff: I mean, she sings it like she’s running away from something horrible. I don’t know. Maybe it was written after someone was murdered by bells?

Jason: Gerry Goffin? Is he still alive?

Jeff: I don’t know my Goffins from my Bayer Sagers.

Jason: Oh wait, no. That’s Jim Nabors I’m thinking of.

Jeff: Apparently “Carol of the Bells” has its roots in a Ukranian folk chant or something. Maybe that’s what Carole was channeling here. Ukranians are pretty frightening.

Jason: I think we owe it to ourselves to listen to a holiday original, don’t you?

Jeff: I think I owe myself a beer. Wait, there are original songs on this thing?

Jason: “Christmas Paradise,” co-written by Goffin!

(Louise Goffin.)

Jeff: I’m imagining something 38 Special would have recorded for a Revenge of the Nerds Christmas movie. In my head, it sounds awesome.

Jason: Haven’t we heard 38 Special do Christmas music? A Wild-Eyed Christmas Night, remember?

Jeff: We have! Their Christmas album has a giant eyeball on it.

Jason: Yes! It was a better cover than this record!

Jeff: I want to say you’re wrong, but I can’t. I guess the only thing left to do is listen to “Christmas Paradise.”

Carole King — Christmas Paradise (download)
Carole King, "A Holiday Carole"
From A Holiday Carole

Jeff: Oh God.

Jason: sigh

Jeff: Come on. Why? Why do people do this? And why are they always old white people?

Jason: By people, do you mean them recording it, or us listening to it?

Jeff: This should have been called “Christmas at Sandals.” And Carole should punch her daughter in the babymaker for letting those vocals out of the studio.

Jason: “A Very Club Med Christmas.”

Jeff: No crackling fire or chestnuts roasting, but Carole has plenty of clams!

Jason: “With Carole King and Special Guest Bette Midler.”

Jeff: Oof. I mean oy vey!

Steel drums! This is absolutely dreadful.

Jason: I just can’t imagine ever wanting to hear it more than once.

Jeff: I can’t imagine wanting to hear it AT ALL.


Jason: Who are those guys?

Jeff: Break out the patois, Carole! I want to shove dirty flip-flops in everyone’s mouth.

Jason: She didn’t do too bad on that one high note. I want them all to get Montezuma’s Revenge.

Jeff: Oh, fuck all this. Fuck every note of this. Horrible, just horrible.

Jason: “James, do you want to guest on my album?” “No, I’m good.”

Jeff: So apparently the album features “vocal contributions” from Carole’s grandson, who probably couldn’t say no on account of how Grandma is paying for college.

As shitty and lame as that song is, I can totally imagine plenty of retirees bringing it along for their holiday timeshare vacations.

Jason: “Unlike previous albums released by King, none of the songs were written or co-written by her.” How much do you want to bet Carole herself added that to her Wikipedia page?

Jeff: spit take

Jason: “I just want to put this out there.”

Jeff: I can imagine some resort using this to promote AARP-friendly vacations. Carole on the beach in the commercial, wearing some neon t-shirt with a logo on it. Everyone grinning and waving drinks.


Jason: Dave Lifton.

Jeff: second spit take

  • Chris Holmes

    Holy shit this is awful. Is this the first instance of a (formerly) major recording artist cutting an album entirely with Skype?

  • dslifton

    I’m envisioning the Afro-Cuban All-Stars doing an entire album of Carole King songs.

  • dslifton

    I’m envisioning the Afro-Cuban All-Stars doing an entire album of Carole King songs.

  • Terje Fjelde

    So, Tapestry was just a fluke.

  • dslifton


  • Anonymous

    This is the saddest day of Mellowmas ’11, if not the franchise entire, to date. “Carole of the Breathless” was discomforting in its own right; coupled with “Christmas Corazón”, you’ve got a clutch-the forehead moment of Scheff-before-P90X proportions. I’m going to need a mug of mint cocoa and a bootleg DVD of Really Rosie before I can face civilization again.

  • Anonymous

    Oh shit! I was just scrolling down here to say that it sounded like she recorded the vocals via Skype, especially the “Carol of the Bells”!

    What’s doubly weird is they sound like crap compared to the bg vocals, and I don’t mean that because her voice doesn’t sound great. She’s a senior citizen now. It’s expected. No, these vocals sound like they were literally recorded with her laptop’s built-in microphone, while the bg vocals are clean and crisp. What’s going on with that?

  • Beau

    I feel the roof … move … under his feet, I see a sleigh tumblin’ down … I see his belly tremble, when he leaves Santa Town …

  • Chris Holmes

    I think it can truly be said that she IP phoned in her performance.

  • Ian Lozada

    That first one sounded like she was trying to sing with some fake Irish accent.  

  • Michael Burke

    As mean as you were about the production values and “DIY” nature of this record, you undersold it.  Holy crap.

  • Anonymous

    I think next winter, today’s CD should be re-released under the new, more accurate title “Crapestry”.

  • Terje Fjelde

    I like the sound of that. Carole King’s “A Christmas Crapestry”

  • JonCummings

    Somehow I feel that Bertie Higgins might have been able to make “Christmas Paradise” work.

    Why can’t one of these Jewish singer-songwriters come up with a song about going out for Chinese food on Christmas?

  • dslifton
  • Brett Alan

    So Carole King joins Bob Dylan in the proud (?) tradition of great Jewish songwriters doing Christmas albums and passive-aggressively torpedoing them by not writing any of the songs! You know, the tradition Dylan started a few years ago. (BTW, my new favorite Christmas tradition is watching Dylan’s video for “Must Be Santa” on OnDemand. Taken in the full context with that album, this may be the weirdest thing that has ever happened.)

    Carole did have a Christmas song which she co-wrote–“Love For Christmas”, which came out in 2003, and is actually quite good. And she co-wrote it with–Jeff guessed it!–Carol Bayer Sager!

  • Anonymous

    Holy Shit, this is simply dreadful. It makes that Prism music I sent you sound like The Beatles compared to this. Well, maybe not The Beatles. Michael McDonald era Doobie Brothers maybe. Shit, this is just terrible.

  • Anonymous

    Yikes! That “Carol(e) of the Bells” is awful. I couldn’t bring myself to play the second song.

  • Legbamel Not-Pop

    The second song/abomination crashed Flash after seven seconds, which was enough to know that I might end up downloading it to torment my co-workers.  Now I can’t get it to play at all.  Thank you, Adobe!

  • Legbamel Not-Pop

    The second song/abomination crashed Flash after seven seconds, which was enough to know that I might end up downloading it to torment my co-workers.  Now I can’t get it to play at all.  Thank you, Adobe!

  • Dustin Christmann

    My mother subjected my sister and me to the entire “Tapestry” LP countless times when we were growing up.

    I think it’s time for me to do my best Jeff Giles impersonation and send her this CD. It’s the absolute least I can do to repay her.

  • dslifton

    Bless your sense of Texas justice, Dustin.