Jason: Hey, look what Santa brought us!

Jeff: Ooh, what is it?

Jason: Another B-list Christmas compilation!

Jeff: Shit! Oh, but this one is different.

Jason: It is? How so?

Jeff: We’ve never covered a B-list Christmas compilation featuring artists brought together to support a William Shatner horse charity!

Jason: That’s totally true! This is a great compilation, then. I feel like it’s really bringing my attention to a charity I know nothing about.

Jeff: I feel like I hate both of us for knowing about it, owning it, and listening to it.

Jason: Yeah, that’s the truth. And you didn’t buy this digitally, did you?

Jeff: I don’t want to talk about it.


Jeff: And how much does Shatner love his horses? Enough to send the very best.

Jason: Regale them, Jeff!

Jeff: At least if by “very best,” you mean “Stephen Bishop, Richard Marx, and DJ Ice Z and the Fresh Elf.”

Jason: Wait wait wait — Richard Marx is on this thing?

Jeff: Like a fresh sore!

Jason: Best. Christmas. Compilation. Ever. I hope he’s singing I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

Jeff: He is not.

Jason: That’s too bad. I was planning on listening to it, and pretending he was singing it to me. Man, I love Richard Marx. Where’s HIS Christmas album?

Jeff: Oh, I’m sure we’re only a couple of years away.

Jason: But…but…

Jeff: This record blows almost top to bottom, but there’s a Hayseed Dixie track that’s actually pretty cool. “Misty Wonderland Hop.”

Jason: I have to disagree with you. I thought it was cool at first — I gave it four stars — but every time it came on, I turned it off. If you want Zeppelin and Christmas, you have to go for Mojochronic’s “Yuletide Zeppelin.”

Jeff: I can’t believe we’re debating the merits of holiday Zeppelin tributes. What fucking planet am I on?

Jason: You’re on Planet Mellowmas, stupid!

Jeff: Have I ended up on James Cameron’s Avatar planet somehow?

Jason: Worse. I’m pretty sure James Cameron’s planet has no place for Stephen Bishop. Unless it’s Planet Washed-Up.

Jeff: Speaking of washed up, look who else is on this album. Dennis DeYoung.

Jason: Oh, Dennis DeYoung.

Jeff: How much strength does it take to go on living after you’ve been fired from Styx? Isn’t that the rock & roll equivalent of losing your job at Denny’s?

Jason: Ha ha ha ha! What’s the name he’s forced to tour under? Something like “Dennis DeYoung and the Songs of Styx” or something.

Jeff: Because I just went to his Wikipedia page, I can tell you he’s contractually prevented from advertising himself as “the voice of Styx.”

Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! He should form a band with Al Jardine.

Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha! Whatever happened with Sad Al Jardine’s little touring band?

Jason: I don’t know, but I do know that Al has a Christmas single out this year, and I went out of my way NOT to send it to you, because I love you.

Jeff: He does? I must find it.

Jason: It’s actually just a live recording of a Beach Boys Christmas song he sang in concert a while back.

Jeff: Please tell me it’s called “Goin’ Back to Kokomo.”

Jason: I believe he’s is contractually prevented from uttering the word “Kokomo.” That word belongs to Mike Love. John Stamos may own 15%.

Jeff: The Beach Boys have a new barrel-scraping Christmas compilation out this year, too.

Jason: Do they really? deep sigh

Jeff: But we digress. To get us back on topic, here’s a seemingly random collection of words from DeYoung’s Wikipedia page: “On October 13, 2009, DeYoung’s sound creation the “ARF 2600” was given it’s world premiere at the opening of The 101 Dalmatians Musical in Minneapolis, MN.”

Jason: The WHAT?

Jeff: I don’t know!
“DeYoung made his major motion picture debut in 2005’s The Perfect Man, in which he played the lead vocalist in a Styx tribute band.”

Jason: Actually, that sounds somewhat funny.

Jeff: As much as I hate Dennis DeYoung’s music, I’m starting to feel bad for him. He might have an even worse life than Billy Joel.

Jason: I saw him on A&E’s Private Sessions a few months ago. He acts like he’s Jerry Lewis in interviews, hamming it up and pausing for laughs that never come. I wonder how DeYoung ended up on this compilation. The track listing is so random. Did you know that, at one point, they were supposed to have Meryl Streep on here?

Jeff: Maybe they figured Dennis DeYoung was the next best thing? I imagine Meryl and Dennis have both gone through menopause at this point.

Jason: Ha ha ha ha! That was funny, but still, bite your tongue for trying to draw a link between Dennis DeYoung and Meryl Streep. One is one of the finest female performers of our generation. And the other is Meryl Streep. Wackity schmackity doo!

Jeff: tips straw hat, dances a jig

Jason: Okay, let’s listen to this Christmas turd.

Jeff: Fine, fine.

Jason: If you start to feel down while you’re listening, just think about all the horses you’ve helped.

Jeff: God, it’s almost four minutes long.

Jason: Hey, it’s either this or the song from DJ Ice and the Fresh Elf.

Jeff: Dennis DeYoung it is!

Jason: Ready?

Jeff: Sort of!

Dennis DeYoung — When I Hear a Christmas Song (download)


From The Sounds of Christmas 2009 null

Jason: You have to give Dennis DeYoung credit for being over-the-top right out of the gate.

Jeff: He’s definitely playing to his base.

Jason: Man, who shoved that synth pad all the way up in the mix?

Jeff: His voice makes me so angry. If someone else was singing this, I might like it, which also makes me angry.

Jason: This sounds no different from anything he did in Styx, really. And I guess we can give him some credit for that. he sounds exactly the way he always does. And his voice sounds strong.

Jeff: It’s his daily semen-swallowing regimen.

Jason: You know who’s going to love this song? I know you know.

Jeff: Your mom?

Jason: Bingo!

Jeff: sigh

Jason: She’ll sing this all through Christmas, I guarantee it.

Jeff: I can just picture you guys dancing in the living room. You, with tears in your eyes after opening your autographed Lionel Richie 1984 tour program.

Jason: Oh! Oh, that would be so exciting!

Jeff: Did DeYoung just go into falsetto? Ididn’t know he could do that. I thought his voice only had the one setting.

Jason: I don’t know. I’ve kind of tuned him out so I can concentrate on my autographed Lionel Richie 1984 tour program.

Jeff: The “I’m imagining I’m holding roses and bowing before a Broadway crowd” setting.

Jason: Well, it’s over.

Jeff: Thank goodness. Blech. Schmaltz, schmaltz, schmaltz.

Jason: Well, yeah. What did you expect? It’s DENNIS DEYOUNG.

Jeff: I have to admit — I’m surprised that it was relatively understated. No children’s choir.

Jason: Yeah, it could have been way worse.

Jeff: No sleigh bells. A real horn.

Jason: I mean, if you like Dennis DeYoung, I think you’ll like this song very much.

Jeff: And if you like horses AND you like Dennis DeYoung, well, goddamn, you’re all set.
Jason: Oh man, Jeff. I forgot to only bring up this track in iTunes, and so the next track just started playing. It’s by a child.

Jeff: Yeah, it’s terrible, isn’t it? I mean, as bad as DeYoung’s song is, it at least sounds like it was created by professionals. The bulk of The Sounds of Christmas 2009 is really low-budget. And in 2009, that really means something.

Jason: I will say that there are a few really good tracks on here. The Huey Lewis & the News version of “Winter Wonderland” is awesome.

Jeff: Right, because it has nothing to do with this album. It was a fanclub single from years ago.

Jason: And I liked the first track, “All I Need” by Lis Soderberg, whoever that is.

Jeff: You just like songs named “All I Need.”

Jason: I learned it by watching you, big boy!

Jeff: The Stephen Bishop song is also a reheated version of the one he did for Taco Bell awhile back, if I remember the CD’s liner notes correctly. Like I said, Shat cared enough to send the “very best.” Do you think it’s a coincidence that I’ve been drinking heavily? I wonder.

Jason: You’ve been drinking heavily since way before we invented Mellowmas, my friend. I think it may have coincided with the birth of your first child.

Jeff: I think I’d rather blame Dennis DeYoung, if you don’t mind. Dennis DeYoung and his stupid Vulcan sideburns.

Jason: You and Tommy Shaw should get together.

Jeff: I think I hate Tommy Shaw even more.

Jason: Right, but at least you and Tommy Shaw have something in common.

Jeff: Here’s what’s mildly fascinating to me about Styx. Dennis DeYoung was always the worst thing about Styx, right? But then they fired him AND THEY GOT EVEN WORSE.

Jason: I haven’t listened to a damn thing that Styx has done since they fired him, except that cover of “I Am the Walrus” that you sent me a few years ago.

Jeff: shudder

Jason: And I’m not the best person to ask. I like Styx, and I liked them with Dennis DeYoung. Make no mistake, though, I do not advocate Dennis DeYoung’s solo career, unless it’s successful enough to upset Tommy Shaw.

Jeff: Well, I had the misfortune of watching a Styx live DVD a couple of years ago.

Jason: Oh, I remember that!

Jeff: Yes. Styx with a youth orchestra.

Jason: claps wildly

Jeff: Sometimes I still wake up in a pool of sweat.

Jason: That could also be from the post-bourbon shakes, but I understand where you’re coming from. I sometimes wake up in a pool of sweat too, but I think it’s because I’m stuck under your mom and can’t get out.

Jeff: She’s a heavy breather, isn’t she? I don’t know how you can fall asleep.

Jason: She usually suffocates me and I just pass out. I wake up and think I’m in a scene from Free Willy. She also likes to sing Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There,” which just makes it worse.

Jeff: So anyway, I guess the moral of the story for me is that I hate Dennis DeYoung, and I think I might hate horses now, too.

Jason: How will you sleep tonight, knowing you paid for this album? Knowing you enabled Dennis DeYoung to write and release another schmaltzy, Broadway-wannabe tune?

Jeff: I’ve paid more for less. Like the night I took your mother to see Les Miserables.

Jason: gasp She LOVES Les Miserables! She’s seen it, like, four times. That was so sweet of you! The fanciest place I’ve taken your mother was Red Lobster. We got ejected after she dunked her head into the lobster tank. On the bright side…free lobster.

Jeff: Smart of you. It’s best to take her someplace where she has to eat with a bib.

Jason: Speaking of mothers, I guess I’m off to go send this track to mine.

Jeff: Knowing you’re going to be listening to this on Christmas cheers me up a little.

Jason: Ha! Joke’s on you! I’m at my in-laws this year for Christmas! Wait a minute…joke’s on me. Dammit!

Jeff: waves top hat, dances a jig

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About the Author

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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