The Arrogant Worms,
Christmas Turkey
(self-produced, 1997)

There are many gorgeous Christmas recordings that inspire awe for the season. This isn't one of them.

Rather, Christmas Turkey pokes little holes in everything sacred about the season, mocking Santa Claus and various holiday traditions at every turn. And yes, the album is great, great fun!

OK, so you might not gather the children 'round the tree to sing carols like "Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass," "Santa Got Arrested," "Christmas Sucks," "Dad Threw Up on Christmas Day" or "Vincent the Christmas Virus." But hey, if you're experiencing a bout of holiday blues and need a few hearty laughs as a pick-me-up, this is the CD for you!

Santa in particular takes a real kick in the pants on this album. "Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass" is fairly self-explanatory -- let's just say, the jolly old elf has had a really bad year, and his mood has suffered as a result. In "Santa Got Arrested," Christmas is canceled after the Canadian Mounties take an interest in Santa's habit of paying clandestine visits to people's homes at night. His inability to balance accounts and keep a happy workforce provides the basis for "Things Are Looking Bad for Santa." He gets depressed in "Christmas Blues" and goes a bit schizophrenic in "Oh God, I'm Santa Claus!"

Of course, there's more to Christmas than Santa, and the Worms certainly hand out plenty of secular abuse. "The Christmas Song" describes a domestic disturbance sparked by a holiday family gathering. "Christmas Sucks" is a woeful look at everything wrong about the holiday, and a lively klezmer sound adds to the sparkle. On the other hand, everything looks pretty bright when compared to the "Christmas Turkey Blues." Last-minute holiday pressures are spotlighted in "Christmas is Almost Here." Sickness happens messily in "Dad Threw Up on Christmas Day." The Worms evoke a sacred but mournful mood with "The Same Christmas Cake." Greed takes center stage in the rockin' "Christmastime." The post-holiday blahs set in for "Christmas Hangover." And I'm sure you can guess what "Vincent the Christmas Virus" is about.

The bonus track is, well, weird. Weirder. "Christmas in Ignace" is a discordant carol about a town of brain-challenged rock-tossers -- any attempt to explain it better will only confuse you more.

If you weren't counting, that's 15 songs in all. Holiday classics, no. But lots of sing-along fun to be sure!! You'll quickly find your toes tapping and, if you're not careful, you'll catch yourself singing along. Some of these tunes are so infectious they'll be running through your head hours after you swapped the disc for some traditional carols from Bing or Mel.

If you haven't run across the Arrogant Worms before, you'll want to know who to thank (or blame) for this holiday collection. Send your Christmas fruitcakes to Trevor Strong, Chris Patterson and Mike McCormick, and save some cheery lumps of coal for guest musicians Andy Thompson, Andrew Affleck, Ken Post, Jon Park-Wheeler, Don Reed and Doug Banwell.

If you like your Christmas with a wickedly bent sense of humor, this album is a must-have. The Worms will twist your tinsel in ways you've never imagined!

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 14 December 2001