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.


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!

Jason: Exactly!

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?


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.

Jason: Go!

Kelly Rowland, “Wonderful Christmastime”

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.


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.

Jeff: No.

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.

Jason: Ready?

Jeff: No! Not at all!

Jason: Die again!

Tom MacRae – Wonderful Christmastime

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!”


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!”


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.

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Jeff Giles and Jason Hare

Two people, separate rooms Trying to hurt the other Bound together by destiny Is there nothing they won’t do? Will we never see them through?

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