The Twentieth Day of Mellowmas: Turn Around, Bright Eyes
Jason: Well, Jeff, Christmas is almost here.
Jeff: Thank God. Every year, I write “MELLOWMAS IS OVER” on a little piece of paper, I put it in a box, and that’s my Christmas present.
Jason: For me, it means I only have a little time left to listen to all of the Christmas music I’ve collected in 2013. As you know, I listen to, and rate, every song that comes my way.
Jeff: That reminds me — I need to send you a new copy of the Bootsy Collins Christmas record to replace the one you lost.
Jason: With the exception of that record, of course.
I honestly don’t know why I do it anymore. It’s not like I need more Christmas music. It’s a compulsion.
Jeff: I imagine you’re doing it as a desperate attempt to hang onto the spirit of Christmas, which has been ruined by this thing we do every December.
Jason: You’re probably right on both counts. I think the worst part of it is that I download all of these collections from independent sources, and half the time, it’s not even worth the first listen. I like Sufjan Stevens, but getting through his Christmas box set almost killed me last year.
Jeff: I think our friend Zach Curd at Suburban Sprawl puts together a solid Christmas mix, but other than that, I don’t even bother downloading them. You need to stop.
Jason: I will. I promise. This is the last year. I just need to get through this Bright Eyes disc.
Jeff: No you don’t. Stop it. Bright Eyes is lame, Jason.
Jason: That may be true, but it’s in my iTunes library now! What am I supposed to do? “Lose” it?
Jeff: I don’t care what you do with it, as long as I don’t have to li…wait a minute. This has all been an elaborate ruse to get me to listen to Bright Eyes’ Christmas album, hasn’t it?
Jason: *indie leprechaun dance*
Jeff: So what do we get? “Vintage Bells”? “Oh Upcycled Town of Bethlehem”?
Jason: We get a take on the Elvis Presley classic “Blue Christmas.”
Jeff: Hold on, I’m pointing my browser at Etsy and cutting myself in the jugular with the corner of my laptop.
Jason: Jesus Christ, he starts singing in a different key from the actual track.
Jeff: I think I’ve told you before that I hate this song, right? Anyone could sing it and I’d hate it.
Jason: You’ve told me “I hate this song” every day in December for the past 7 years.
Jeff: That said, I really am not happy about listening to this particular version. Is he kidding with this?
Jason: I don’t know, Jeff. I think this gives the original’s tale of unrequited love a properly Oberst-ian performance, Elvis’ croon traded for a stagy, sniveling sneer.
Ha ha ha! Look at me, I’m a Pitchfork writer! Check out my porkpie hat and beard!
What a great solo. It’s ironic that the two guitars aren’t in the same key, GET IT?
Jeff: It makes me sad that some people like this. We cover a lot of strange, terrible stuff during Mellowmas, but at least most of it represents people performing to the best of their ability.
Jason: Oh look, he covers “Silent Night,” too.
Jeff: Covers it in a gingham frock he picked up at the flea market?
Jason: Only one way to find out.
Jason: Oh dear God.
Jeff: Is this the worst?
Jason: I THINK I HEAR A SINGING SAW
Jeff: *gasp* I THINK YOU’RE RIGHT
Jason: Either that or it’s the howl of Dorothy Finch‘s latest prey.
Jeff: This is worse than Tom McRae’s version of “Wonderful Christmastime.”
Jason: I remember that one! I wish I didn’t, but I do!
Jeff: I also bear the scars of that performance. But I hate this more.
Jason: Don’t you get this, Jeff? Don’t you get what he’s trying to say here?
Jeff: “Fuck you”? Who plays this during the holidays?
Jason: People who hate the holidays?
People who hate themselves?
People who hate melody?
People who hate rhythm?
Jeff: Also, what is that weird gurgling noise at the bottom of the mix?
Jason: Oh god! That’s DISGUSTING! It seriously made my stomach feel weird.
Jeff: This is what you get when you let people from Nebraska make music. Bright Eyes and 311, Jason.
Jason: Well, now I know one thing about 311.
Jeff: I guess we can be thankful that 311 hasn’t made a Christmas album…yet, that I know of, and I’m not looking to see if I’m wrong.
Jason: You know what’s messed up? This record actually came out in 2002.
Jeff: You should have stopped at “came out.”
Jason: This is its “widespread release” according to Pitchfork, a website I prided myself never, ever visiting until today. Which means that SOMEBODY DEMANDED A WIDESPREAD RELEASE OF THIS RECORD. And you know what? It was probably our readers.
Jeff: It’s a big scary world out there, my friend.
Jason: I hate everybody and everything. Which oddly makes this record now perfect for me.
Jeff: Some people are tired of listening to music that sounds like people knew they were being recorded, and I guess they deserve a Christmas album too.
Jason: That’s very kind of you, buddy. Today is the day I start drinking.
Jeff: Take a tip from someone who knows: It doesn’t make Bright Eyes sound any better.