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Bad Religion - Christmas Songs (Review)

Bad Religion, Christmas Songs

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SO, the following sentence may not be easy to believe but, and here goes, revered punk rock legend Bad Religion is releasing a Christmas album. Yes, you read that right.

What’s more, the Christmas LP in question is chock full of well known anthems such as O Come All Ye Faithful, White Christmas and Little Drummer Boy – jolly, family-friendly, even holy anthems you wouldn’t necessarily think were prime for a punk rock makeover.

Well, think again. If that’s where your musical passion lies, or even if you fancy something with edge to counter the saccharine this approaching festive time, then Bad Religion tick those boxes, whilst delivering something familiar.

What’s more, Bad Religion will contribute 20% of proceeds from Christmas Songs to SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Explains co-songwriter and guitarist Brett Gurewitz: “This might be the most subversive album we’ve done! To me, what the album is indirectly stating is that this music, and thus the world, can be powerful and beautiful stripped of god and religion. These are just really good songs, and a historically non-religious band like Bad Religion can perform them with as much power and feeling as anyone.”

The band’s iconic vocalist and co-songwriter, Greg Graffin, also has a personal connection with these songs. Graffin got his start as a singer when he was young boy in a church choir. His instructors found him so remarkable that he received a scholarship to a choir school.

Not that he has reverted to his inner angel. The gruff, punk-inflicted edge he brings to his day sound are intact.

And while just occasionally the mix of hard-rocking guitars, crashing drums and edgy vocals doesn’t quite sit right (Angels We Have Heard on High rates as a miss), there’s something refreshing and even invigorating about hearing tracks like Little Drummer Boy (complete with marching-band style drum loop and stop-start guitar riffs) and White Christmas being given the sort of Xmas makeover that Green Day would be proud of.

It’s a riot of energy and a punchy anecdote to the schmaltz-laden festive interpretations being dolled out annually by the likes of Michael Buble and Mariah Carey. You’ll be rocking round the Christmas tree and giving the festive party some much needed bite. So, say amen to some Bad Religion this Christmas.

Download picks: O Come All Ye Faithful, White Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, American Jesus

Listen to O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Track listing:

  1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful
  3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  4. White Christmas
  5. Little Drummer Boy
  6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  7. What Child Is This?
  8. Angels We Have Heard On High
  9. American Jesus (Andy Wallace Mix)