Patty Smyth’s Come On December + Rupaul’s Slay Belles

In my gay opinion, Christmas music has it’s time and it’s place. The proper time begins December 1st and expires December 26th at 12:01AM. The appropriate place is in the privacy of your own home or car. Hearing it playing softly in the background while having a nice dinner in a restaurant while watching the snow fall outside can be nice. However when malls start playing it the day after Thanksgiving in order to brainwash you into spending tons of cash on crap that nobody needs in order to tell your loved ones that they are truly loved is bullshit…oh, and Happy New Year!

I have a few Christmas albums. Every year I buy new ones that the divas I follow put out. This year I had two must buys. Christmas came early, and I almost did too, when I heard Patty Smyth had a Pledge Music special to benefit veterans (I’m always willing to do what I can to service a man…I mean for a man in the service) where I could get the download of her new Christmas album as soon as it was released and a signed CD after it’s release. I was also thrilled to hear Rupaul had a new Christmas album because her first Christmas album Ho! Ho! Ho! is one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time.

Patty Smyth’s Come On December is a little disappointing with only 8 songs, five of which are classics like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear.” However, they are all perfectly sung over backing guitars, and Patty sounds just as good today as she did back in “The Warrior” and “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” days. The three original non-traditional tracks are the ones I’m most blown away by. “Walk With Me” and “Broken” are beautiful ballads that aren’t limited to being played just during the holiday season. However, my favorite song on the album is it’s namesake, “Come On December”. This is Patty doing what Patty does best, rocking it.

Rupaul’s Slay Belles is loaded with songs, 21 to be exact. Half are “interludes” which are cute little intros of Ru talking and laughing with friends to lead into the next song. Fun for the first listen but I’ll be skipping them in the future. The rest of the songs are all originals and just a blast to listen to. You have to move to songs like “Merry Christmas, Mary” and “My Favorite Holiday”. Gone is her highly auto-tuned dance voice in exchange for a more striped down natural sound, especially on the R&B heavy “Nothing For Christmas” and 50’s inspired “Christmas Cookies”. I’m truly impressed that she can produce an entire album of originals that’s both fun and thoughtful without becoming hokey.

The best part of both of these albums is their celebration of love for the holiday season. I’m not religious and for me Christmas hasn’t been about the gifts since I was a kid, I don’t give or receive. Instead I pick one night before Christmas where I have friends over to play games and enjoy each others company. Then I spend Christmas Day volunteering at an animal sanctuary and going to dinner with family. That to me is the best way to spend the holidays; with fantastic family, fabulous friends and merry music.

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