Earth, Wind & Fire | Holiday (Legacy)

cd EWF-holidayThis album is EWF through and through, so much that you may not recognize the standards.

 

 

It’s hard to believe Earth, Wind & Fire hasn’t released a holiday album until now. Personally, I’ve always thought Christmas deserved a second helping of funk music. Finally, those of us with groove in our hearts have the holiday album we have been waiting for.

From minute one, this album is EWF through and through. Although most of the songs here are standards, you may not recognize all of them as such, at least not initially. The horns, the noodling guitars, the slap-happy drumbeats—they’re all here, along with the silky smooth harmonies, celebratory vocals, and inspirational calls for the next lyric. “Joy to the World” kicks off the disc, and it’s a load of fun. Seriously: Try to listen and not move in your seat, at least a little bit. (For true effect, I recommend playing this song at top volume while decorating the tree. Your living room has never been so festive.)

“O Come All Ye Faithful” is perhaps the truest to the original; otherwise, EWF owns these songs through and through. You’ll have to pay attention to the lyrics to recognize “Winter Wonderland” as a cover; with its vibrant horns, whisper harmonies, and rich lead vocals, it should really be considered a new creation.

The band takes things down a notch with the beautiful “What Child Is This?” and chilled-out “Away in a Manager, both of which nevertheless bear the band’s signature R&B delivery. “The Drummer Boy” is a happy collection of percussion and jangling guitars, the perfect lead-in to the sultry, sexy “Everyday Is Christmas.” “Snow” could easily have been included on any of EWF’s classic releases; up next, “Jingle Bell Rock” further showcases horns, such a crucial element of this funk forerunner’s forte.

They saved their best song for last, though: a reworking of the brilliant “September” now dubbed “December.” With this brilliance, Holiday goes out with a resounding bang. With Holiday, EWF has given us a gift we won’t want to take back. | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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