Christmas: are we going full-out for it this time? Too right, we are. Well, certainly ‘round are way’; twinkling fairy lights, a warming glass of mull, and trinket-loaded trees have been on the scene earlier than I have ever known in my life. You know, people want, and deserve a sprinkling of cheer at the end of this year we call 2020. New York Pop Rockers, The Goo Goo Dolls, recognised that this would be the case in lockdown and had the good sense to create their first festive album, It's Christmas All Over, released through Warner Records.
The popularity of the outfit shows no signs of waning as they boast of selling twelve million records worldwide and smashing barriers by achieving fourteen number one and top ten hits. Forming in Buffalo, New York back in 86, the Dolls have experienced the exemplary environment to conjure up wintery, Christmassy feels and pour them into their new venture. Produced by frontman John Rzeznik alongside the band’s longtime collaborators Brad Fernquist and Jimmy McGorman, the LP is a broad church of esteemed covers and two original works.
Just like a chipper get-together accompanied by the soundtrack of a cute Christmas playlist, the collection of tunes moves through differing styles. Inspo from Tom Petty's Christmas All Over Again christened the album and is also up for song one. Starting as we mean to go on, jingly bells keep the beat as the grace of the 50s marries up with the rocky raspy tones of Rzeznik's voice, painted with a luscious drum outro. Glamorous Swing greets us in Shake Hands with Santa Clause, and the application of Robby Takac's voice features in waltz Christmas Don't Be Late, celebrating its swaying tendencies, and originally and famously delivered by The Chipmunks.
It honestly would not be a holiday cluster without a few classics ringing out. We have a smoothly done Let It Snow, armed with lounge piano and guitar solo, a rich, double bass jazz effect present for Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, creating a freestyle climate, and cherished carol Hark! The Heralds Angels Sing suiting John's voice to the ground. There is medly time too! Yesss! Jazz instrumental jamboree arrives in The Christmas Party (Feat. The Union Square 5) with not one, not two, but seven fragments including Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and Walking in a Winter Wonderland: it is illustrious.
At fifteen years old, tune Better Days sees a special re-working with guest vocalist Sydney McGorman- the daughter of one of the co-producers Jimmy- and such a sweet take expressing a want to move on to better things. Original number, the Tim Burtonesque You Ain't Getting Nothing This Year, is a feisty call and response number that contrasts with the second: acoustic-based This is Christmas, which will surely visit the airwaves of radio stations far and wide.
The band is currently in the studio working on new material and will also be heading out on a comprehensive North American tour in the summer of 2021, stopping off at musical meccas like Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. For now, we are left with It's Christmas All Over. It is uplifting, it is thoroughly pleasant, it is the album we did not know we needed to take the chill off the air, but we do. Roaring fire? Check. Drop of whiskey? Check. Goo Goo Dolls? Check.
Article by Beverley Knight