As we reach the 17th day of Mellowmas together, we’d like to take a second to acknowledge your feelings after yesterday’s Mellowmas failure. It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to be questioning our taste, and perhaps your own. It’s okay to wonder if Mellowmas will ever be the same again. The two of us are here today to reassure you that Mellowmas is alive and well — and today, it lives in the Auto-Tuned voices of three Very Special girls from a Very Special holiday album. Read on!
Jason: Jeff, is it true that a new A Very Special Christmas album is out?
Jeff: That’s what I hear, Jason! I’m looking forward to hearing new Christmas tracks from artists such as Tom Petty and Run-DMC!
Jason: What number are they up to now?
Jeff: I think they’re up to 31 or something, aren’t they?
Jason: I don’t know! I know I loved the first two. Especially the Petty and Run-DMC!
Jeff: What’s the most very special-est number?
Jeff: Yes! But this is just seven.
Jason: Seven? They’re up to seven? The last one I remember is number three!
Jeff: And that isn’t the most disappointing part. Um…no Tom Petty here. No Run-DMC, either.
Jason: No? Who’d they get? Springsteen? U2? The Strokes? Pearl Jam?
Jeff: Believe me when I tell you that you will wish the third one was still the last
one you remembered.
Jason: Hang on, let me look it up.
Jeff: Think “younger.”
Jason: Oh no.
Jeff: And also “not as talented.”
Jason: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Jeff: But on the bright side, all these performers look better in a halter top.
Jason: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Jeff: Give a warm Mellowmas welcome to…Miley Cyrus!
Jeff: Ashley Tisdale!
Jeff: and Leighton Meester!
Jason: WHAT THE HELL IS A LEIGHTON MEESTER
Jeff: I don’t know! It sounds like what I say when I’m taking a really stubborn shit, though.
Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Jeff: Go ahead and say it through clenched teeth. You’ll see.
Jason: Okay, I’m trying to put this all in perspective. A Very Special Christmas is about raising money for the Special Olympics. And that’s very important. So it doesn’t make sense for them to include our kinds of artists.
Jeff: Right, they need popular artists. And to their credit, they did pick a bunch for this album.
Jason: I think this is just the first time that one of the Very Special Christmas collections has featured, you know, teenagers.
Jeff: Isn’t Taylor Swift in here somewhere? Or am I just hoping that’s true?
Jason: Nope! Carrie Underwood, though. And Kellie Pickler.
Jeff: Hee hee hee! You said “Underwood” and “Pickler.” That’s dirty.
Jason: And…your favorite…Colbie Caillat!
Jeff: Fuck that bitch!
Jason: Ha ha ha ha! Now you’re the one who’s angry!
Jeff: Which means I think we’re both ready for this.
Jason: Okay. Let’s hit a bunch all in one day. I can’t stand to listen for more than just one day. Let’s start with a Leighton Meester.
Jeff: deep breath, slaps face
Ah, she’s covering a classic. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
Jason: I’m sure it’s plenty faithful to the original.
Jeff: She can’t do a worse job than Jon Bon Jovi did. And according to rock & roll math, this has to be better than the Eagles’ version, on account of Glenn Frey not being on it.
Jason: The Eagles didn’t do this song. That’s “Please Come Home for Christmas.”
Jeff: Ha! I’m dyslexic for Mellowmas!
Jason: Which, by the way, is also the song that Bon Jovi did. Here’s who you might remember covering this song, you dolt.
Jeff: If you call me a dolt again, I’m going to Leighton Meester on your coffee table.
Jason: Okay, fair enough. So first was Darlene Love. And that version is pretty well-known. But I think the most popular version was U2’s, which was on the first A Very Special Christmas album. I also have a version by Death Cab For Cutie, but they can suck it.
Jeff: Will Phil Spector punch Leighton Meester?
Jason: We can only hope. Let’s take a listen.
Leighton Meester — Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) (download)
Jason: Ugh. Ugh already!
Jeff: Yeah, that synth patch is annoying, isn’t it?
Jason: OH MY GOD
Jason: THE AUTO-TUNE. That doesn’t sound like intentional Auto-Tune.
Jeff: It doesn’t, does it?
Jason: That sounds like somebody who doesn’t know how to use Auto-Tune using Auto-Tune.
Jeff: Yeah, this is definitely the weirdest Auto-Tuned vocal I’ve ever heard.
Jason: I think you yelling “LEIGHTON MEESTER!” while taking a dump would sound better than her actual voice. She must really, really suck for them to do this to her.
Jeff: I think she’s an actress or something.
Jason: I have absolutely no clue who she is, seriously. And I know that makes me old. But I don’t care.
Jeff: All I know is that we’ve gotten about a thousand e-mails about her music since August.
Jason: Well, we’re finally covering her! Probably not in the way the publicists might hope.
Jeff: I wish we were covering her with a heavy blanket. And throwing her in my trunk.
Jason: I need to know what the story is with that vocal. I can’t imagine anybody would allow this to go through unless the Auto-Tune was intentional.
Jeff: I’m looking for some information. Leighton Meester is on Gossip Girl, first of all.
Jason: What the hell is Gossip Girl? (Just kidding.)
Jeff: “Meester was born while her mother was serving a federal prison sentence in Fort Worth, Texas. Although her mother, Constance, was serving time in prison for her involvement in a drug ring that smuggled marijuana from Jamaica to the United States, she was able to give birth to Meester in a hospital and nurse her for three months in a halfway house before returning to prison to complete her sentence.” Leighton Meester is the CW’s answer to 2Pac!
Jason: Ha! I’ll tell you this: it’s clear to me that Leighton Meester has never heard the original version of this song. Or U2’s version. In fact, she may not even know who U2 are.
Jeff: It’s clear to me she was half awake when she tracked her vocals.
Jason: Oh, you know what? I owe you an apology. Jon Bon Jovi did indeed cover this. He did this one and the other one.
Jeff: I’m sure he only meant to do one.
Jason: He did this one on A Very Special Christmas Live.
Jeff: “Meester described her debut album with an “electro-pop edge” rather than bubblegum, being edgy and danceable. She has worked with Lil Wayne, JR Rotem, Kara Dioguardi, Spencer Nezey of Jupiter Rising, Polow Da Don, Harvey Mason, RedOne, Clinton Sparks and Kenna. Her influences for the album include Madonna, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Gwen Stefani and Fergie. Meester states that “they’re very strong women and have a completely unique sound.” The album includes a song called “Make It Rain” that features Lil Wayne.
Jason: I guarantee you that if you asked her what she thought of Blondie, she’d have no idea what you were talking about.
Jeff: I’m guessing I’ll end up reviewing this turkey.
Jason: Those influences sound heavily publicist-influenced.
Jeff: Well, that was dreadful, and Leighton Meester should be ashamed of herself.
Jason: Agreed. So let’s move on. If we’re going to do three of these today, we have to get to the next one. Because otherwise, I’m not going to make it. Let’s listen to Miley.
Jeff: I love that you had to say that. “Let’s listen to Miley.” Ha ha ha!
Jason: I don’t know much of her music, but I know I liked “See You Again.”
Jeff: I don’t know that song. I think “Party in the U.S.A.” is a pretty terrific little pop song, though.
Jason: Oh, and would you look at that? This song was released previously, too. Just like Lady Gaga, I received this song from a friend last year. I also gave it one star.
Jeff: Oh, no kidding? I didn’t know it existed until I saw it here.
Jason: Miley couldn’t even be bothered to record something new for the Special Olympics! MILEY HATES MENTALLY CHALLENGED PEOPLE.
Jeff: I love that “Party in the U.S.A.” includes a cool line about her being happy about hearing a Jay-Z song on the radio, but she cheerfully admits she’s never heard a Jay-Z song.
Jason: I’ve never heard that song.
Jeff: She doesn’t even pretend to have a genuine connection to her material. I wonder if Miley Cyrus really celebrates Kwanzaa. Special Olympics approached her to record this song, and she was like, “Yeah, whatever, just give me the lyric sheet.” Twenty years from now, she’ll cover “The Chanukah Song.”
Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, let’s see if that’s true. I have absolutely no recollection of hearing this last year, so it’s like this is new to me. Let’s see if she gets one star again.
Jeff: Excellent. Ready to “rock” around the “Christmas tree”?
Jason: “No!” “Not” in the “slightest!”
Jeff: “Too” damn “bad”!
Miley Cyrus — Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (download)
Jason: “Let’s have a rockin’ Christmas! C’mon!” Who the hell is she talking to?
Jeff: You know what I kind of like about Miley Cyrus? The fact that even though she’s only like 16, she sounds like a Vegas cocktail waitress who’s six months away from retirement.
Jason: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I was just about to say there’s something vaguely masculine about her voice.
Jeff: C’mon, everybody! Make sure you sing along! Let’s go!”
Jason: You should play this for Sophie and see if she sings along. And if she doesn’t sing along, you can yell “MILEY FUCKING TOLD YOU TO SING ALONG! LET’S GO!”
Jeff: “WHOOO!” She has the sound of someone smiling until it hurts so she doesn’t start crying hysterically.
Jason: “Thank you guys! Have a rockin’ Christmas! Happy holiday! Yeah! Yeah!”
Jason: I don’t get it. She’s in the studio! So is she trying to involve her kid-friendly audience, or were we supposed to think she recorded it live, or something? They didn’t even fly in the fake crowd noise.
Jeff: Maybe they planned on adding crowd noise, but ran out of time. Maybe that explains Leighton Meester’s vocals, too. But they didn’t finish her, either.
Jeff: Maybe they let the Special Olympics kids produce this album?
Jason: Oh, BOOOOO!
Jeff: Yes! Hate me!
Jason: You went there!
Jeff: Bring it on!
Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I hate you for making me cackle. You insensitive asshole.
Jeff: I’m so glad you saved the Ashley Tisdale track for last.
Jason: While I sit here with the Mellowmas tears!
Jeff: Your Mellowmas tears have only begun, buddy.
Jason: Okay, let’s see. What is Ashley Tisdale covering?
Jeff: Remember how much you love Wham!?
Jason: Hm, what could it be that she’s covering??
Jeff: rubs hands in anticipation
Jason: Could it be George Michael’s new “December Song”?
Jeff: It could not!
Jason: We’ve talked about this many a time before. I love “Last Christmas.” I’ll be covering it tomorrow night at the Acoustic ’80s concert. It’s one of the few recognizable, popular ’80s Christmas songs. That being said, I absolutely DESPISE covers of “Last Christmas.” (My own excepted, of course.)
Jeff: Didn’t Jimmy Eat World cover this and do all right with it?
Jason: I think I had that track at one point, and deleted it. This is coming from someone who rarely deletes holiday music. That’s what happens when a song actually gets zero stars in my rating system. I just don’t ever really want to hear a cover of it.
Jeff: Well, either way, I like this song too.
Jason: I’ll suck it up and listen to this cover, I guess.
Jeff: And it isn’t a particularly demanding song. I’m not a Wham! fanatic, so I don’t think “Last Christmas” covers are inherently bad.
Jason: For the record, I know nothing about Ashley Tisdale either. Today’s Mellowmas post is making me feel 80 years old.
Jeff: I think Ashley Tisdale was in the “High School Musical” cast. I think she’s the blonde one.
Jason: Don’t pull this “I think” bullshit. You totally know. I see right through you.
Jeff: Actually, thinking about hair color did it. Yes, she is the blonde one. Vanessa Hudgens is the brunette one.
Jason: You are such a liar. You have a picture of her downstairs next to your Bowflex.
Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Jason: You count your reps to her.
Jeff: No, no — that’s Zac Efron.
Jason: I know it.
Jeff: He’s dreamy. It’s next to my Twilight poster.
Jason: I love that you’re pretending you’re gay to get out of admitting you know who Ashley Tisdale is. That’s some serious shame, right there.
Jeff: There’s nothing gay about knowing Zac Efron is dreamy.
Jason: …and just like that, I’m actually ready to listen to Ashley Tisdale.
Jeff: Let’s do this!
Ashley Tisdale — Last Christmas (download)
Jeff: The intro is quiet, at least.
Jason: That’s not a bad opening.
Jason: I’m not hearing the Auto-Tune.
Jeff: Well, you aren’t hearing much singing, either.
Jason: Hmmmm…very interesting chord they played over the first “last Christmas.”
Jeff: She sounds like a girl who has been handed a hairbrush and told it’s a microphone.
Jeff: Oh, don’t tell me.
Jason: I’m not despising this. I’m not loving it. But I’m not despising it, either. I actually like it better than any other cover of “Last Christmas” I’ve heard. I…I don’t know what to do.
Jeff: I don’t know, man. I think this is pretty lame. Hey, she sings “tears” like Kevin Cronin!
Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha! And the original line is “My God, I thought you were someone to rely on,” and she got rid of the “My God” part! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Her handlers made her get rid of the “God” reference! Now THAT’S awesome.
Jeff: The way she sounds perpetually sounds out of breath annoys me. This reminds me a little of the Archies tracks we listened to last year.
Jason: Yeah, I can see that. Kind of blandly-produced stuff.
Jeff: It’s easily the blandest thing we’ve heard all year.
Jason: You think?
Jeff: I can imagine hearing it in the mall. In Express for Men, maybe.
Jason: Our readers don’t know that you’re making a dig at the place I like to buy my work shirts. Jerk. I’m not saying it’s the best thing in the world. But I’d probably listen to it again.
Jeff: I can’t believe you just said that.
Jason: I did. Trust me, I’m as conflicted about this as you are.
Jeff: After everything Wham! has done for you? I hope George Michael falls asleep in the stairway of your building and makes you late for an audition.
Jason: Dude, that’s happened.
Jeff: Jason, you gave it to someone un-special.
Jason: Okay, let’s put it this way: of the three we’ve listened to today, where does it rank?
Jeff: Ooh, good question. Well, Leighton Meester was the worst.
Jason: Duh. Now, Miley has that great, cafeteria lunchlady voice. But she also completely pandered to a non-existent audience.
Jeff: I feel like I need to put Miley first, because her cracked-out vocals make me worry for her mental health. That poor girl has been rode hard and put away wet by Walt Disney’s ghost. She’s probably singing to goblins at this point.
Jason: You can’t put Miley first because you’re worried about her. You have to rank the song in terms of suckitude.
Jason: See? You can’t make up your mind either!
Jeff: I think I’ll still put Miley first.
Jason: After listening to Leighton Meester and Miley, I’m just saying that Ashley Tisdale isn’t bothering me as much.
Jeff: Miley might sound like a middle-aged aunt with mild emphysema, but she can sing.
Jason: That’s true.
Jeff: Ashley Tisdale really sounds like a girl standing in front of her mirror and trying not to wake up her brother.
Jason: Another genius line from Jeff Giles, y’all.
Jeff: Didn’t you get that vibe from her? All precious and breathy. Blech.
Jason: You know what I love? We’ve now come up with three different personas to represent Miley Cyrus.
Jeff: Ha ha ha!
Jason: The cocktail waitress, the lunchlady, and the diseased aunt. It’s like the Three Wise Women of Mellowmas.
Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! They’re bringing near beer, pimento loaf, and Cheez Whiz to the baby Jason!
Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha!