Jason: SO CLOSE. SO GODDAMN CLOSE.
Jeff: Mellowmas has made me yearn for Christmas like I haven’t since I was a kid!
Jason: Mellowmas has made me yearn for an enclosed garage and a running vehicle.
Jeff: Back in the early ’80s, when Reagan was in the White House and all the best bands were still on the radio.
Jason: Oh, man. Don’t even get me started. Remember when you could flip to any radio station and just hear awesomeness?
Jeff: I do. I totally do. Pop, rock, and R&B, all rubbing shoulders in the Top 40. And sometimes even on the same album!
Jason: Yes! Music was…I don’t know. It was fresh. Exciting.
Jeff: Me listening to Chicago, you to Kenny Rogers.
Jason: It was so exciting to me.
Jeff: Me listening to Christopher Cross, you to Air Supply.
Jason: Both of us listening to Billy Joel.
Jeff: I WAS JUST TYPING THAT.
Jason: Love you.
Jeff: I had Ruth Pointer’s Adam’s apple, you had…what, maybe Kool & the Gang? Weren’t you the one who loved their Indiana Jones video for that one song?
Jason: Yes! I think I covered that for CHART ATTACK! once. They were so good, man. Jo-aaanaaaa! I looooove yoooooou! Victory! Vic-toe-ree! Even goddamn “Celebration.” Loved ALL that stuff.
Jeff: And then, man, what happened to Kool & the Gang? The singer left and they hit the state fair circuit. So sad.
Jason: They totally got Commodore’d.
Jeff: Yes! But then, Jason, it got worse.
Jason: It did?
Jeff: Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to be “Kool for the Holidays”?
Jason: Funny you should ask. No, I haven’t. Gotta go!
Jeff: Get your ass back here! It’s time to hear what Kool & the Gang have been up to in 2013. Spoiler alert: It kind of sucks.
Jason: They’ve had a relatively productive year, haven’t they? They toured with Kid Rock. They opened for Dave Matthews Band. Didn’t they even tour with Van Halen?
Jeff: Holy shit, I forgot about that! They did tour with Van Halen!
Jason: And KID ROCK.
Jeff: I wonder if they took all that money and put it into the sessions for Kool for the Holidays. Spoiler alert: They did not.
Jason: You can tell I’m stalling, can’t you.
Jeff: We’ve had such fine luck with “The Little Drummer Boy” during Mellowmas, I feel like we should probably start there.
Jason: I can’t tell you how much I hate that song.
Jeff: Pa rum pa pum pum?
Jason: I just think it’s a really dumb song. And I can’t think of any versions I really like.
Jeff: I like the one with Whitney Houston and Molly Shannon. But otherwise, yeah, I’m with you.
Jason: Well, I guess the Bing/Bowie version. But that doesn’t really count.
Jeff: Maybe Kool & the Gang funk it up on the smooth R&B tip!
Jason: Spoiler alert: they do not?
Jeff: You’re getting the hang of this. Shall we?
Jason: Oh, what the hell is THIS?
Jason: Kool is dead, Jeff.
Jeff: Well, we have live horns anyway.
Jason: At least that’s a real trumpet.
Jeff: Oh, you’re right. One live horn doubled with a synth. And all kinds of obnoxious bullshit going on everywhere else in the mix.
Jason: I have slightly greater tolerance for this if it’s truly an instrumental.
Jeff: I feel like if Vanilla Ice had recorded a Christmas album in 1991, it might have sounded like this.
Jason: Cool as Icemas!
Jeff: Ugh, the vocals.
Give the drummer some, Jason.
Jason: Oh, is that what they’re saying? I thought they were saying “Get drunk, son!”
Jeff: Is it ironic or sad that there are no actual drums on this track?
Jason: You think those bongos are canned?
Jeff: Bongos? I just hear a dying 808 and that farting noise.
Jason: By the way, I canned your mom’s bongos the other night.
Jason: Oh shit! Sax!
Jeff: For the 20th time this Mellowmas, I find myself surprised that a song is technically shorter than it feels.
Jason: Yeah, seriously. I’m bored.
Jeff: You know, if they had bothered to cut this with a live band, it would have been fun.
Jason: Wow, 20-second fadeout.
Jeff: They had to make sure Not Herb Alpert got his last few licks in!
More than anything, I think I’m sad that Kool & the Gang didn’t record that in 1981. I don’t know what they were thinking with this cruddy automated arrangement.
Jason: Even better would have been a 1973 Christmas album.
Jeff: Hell yes. FUNKY. Kool & the Gang: Taint Sweat for the Holidays.
Jason: Also the name of your mother’s 2009 Christmas album! Including the “Kool & the Gang” part.
Jeff: That’s how Kool died!
Jason: Who knew Kool was allergic to Penicillin?
Jeff: Well, we’re sitting here lamenting how great Kool & the Gang used to be. Should we give them another chance?
Jason: Sure, why not! I’m confident they will improve upon what we just heard! Spoiler alert: I’m not confident they will improve upon what we just heard.
Jeff: How about we go walking in the Gang’s “Winter Wonderland”?
Jason: I feel like this track will not evoke Winter or a Wonderland, but sure, why the hell not.
GOD FUCKING DAMMIT
Jason: Wait a second.
Jeff: NO, NO, NO
Jason: Is that a female?
Jason: Multiple females? Since when are there women in Kool & the Gang?
Jeff: The singing is the least of our worries.
Jason: Jeff, have you seen the chords for this song? All but one of them seem to have disappeared.
Jeff: What…what is the thinking here? Who is the target demographic? Is there a club anywhere in the world that’s going to play this?
Jason: Ours? Well, I think that’s it’s that we’re looking for shitty…oh. Good question.
Jeff: Oh good, a rap.
Jason: It’s Nicki Minaj’s non-union equivalent!
Jeff: I think she rapped about pumpkin pie at one point. I admit I don’t mind this guitar solo.
Jason: Yeah, they’re at least in tune. #brighteyes
Jeff: Everything else about this song can die and go to hell.
Jason: This is ridiculous.
Oh good. I believe we’re breaking it down.
Jeff: Much like Kool & the Gang have done!
Jason: They ended it with a fucking scale.
Jeff: Ugh, Jason. Ugh. Isn’t this band’s main audience like 50 years old right now?
Jason: You’d think so, right? But they opened for Kid Rock!
Jeff: I’m fascinated by whatever thought process prompted a club banger version of “Winter Wonderland.”
I feel like Kid Rock would have put a stop to this if he’d known about it.
Jason: Look, I haven’t listened to a Kool & the Gang song since “Victory,” so I have no idea what has brought them to this point.
Jeff: I’m just very sad.
Jason: Look on the bright side: at least the Commodores didn’t release a Christmas album this year.
Jeff: Wait, are the Commodores still together? Do they get to open for Uncle Kracker, Train, and Bon Jovi?
Jason: I don’t know, but they DID release a Christmas album in 1992. I’m just saying…