REVIEW: Randy Rainbow - Hey Gurl, It's Christmas!
It was probably inevitable that comedian/singer/YouTube phenomenon Randy Rainbow would release a Christmas recording. Rainbow is a prodigiously talented writer and performer whose sweetly vicious satirical jabs at political figures have deservedly drawn a huge internet following, and his sharply subversive video parodies are often very funny indeed.
Whether those talents, impressive as they are, sustain over the course of seven tracks is another question. There’s a great deal here that is utterly charming; even over a span of just twenty-nine minutes, though, this album is perhaps a little much when taken all at once. The thing about YouTube parodies is that we watch them in isolation – you (or at least I) watch the latest one, and then move on to something else. Seven tracks in succession, I’m afraid, gave me a sugar rush.
The best numbers, not surprisingly, are the most overtly comedic/satirical. A Sound Of Music-inspired list of Trump’s Favourite Things has real bite, and a daffy take on I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus featuring Alan Cumming and Kathy Griffin is three-and-a-half minutes of pure delight.
The album is less sure-footed when Rainbow drops the satire and goes for sincerity. The Christmas Movie Medley is tastefully arranged and nicely sung, albeit with a little too much superfluous ornamentation in Rainbow’s vocals, but a lot of people have already sung Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and Rainbow’s voice doesn’t have the expressive power to erase your memory of about fifty other performances of the song. The same goes for a medley of Merry Christmas Darling and What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve, the latter sung by Norm Lewis. It’s perfectly tasteful and a bit too lugubrious, and it doesn’t do either singer many favours.
The closing swing through Make Someone Happy, on the other hand, is pure joy – Rainbow, as I said, is a wonderful performer, but he’s best when he’s having fun. If you’re a fan – and I am a fan – you’ll want this album; buy it, but then parcel it out in small doses, and don’t feel guilty if you skip a couple of tracks after you’ve heard them once.
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Hey Gurl, It's Christmas! - 2019 Randy Rainbow The Sound of Music Alan Cumming Norm Lewis Randy Rainbow Kathy Griffin Make Someone Happy (36) My Favorite Things (76) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (33) Toggle Additional (7)