Mini-Review: Train – Christmas In Tahoe

Train

Christmas In Tahoe (Deluxe Edition)

Label: Columbia Records

Release Date: November 13th 2015 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. This Christmas
  2. Christmas Must Be Tonight
  3. The River
  4. Christmas Island
  5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  6. Merry Christmas Everybody
  7. What Christmas Means To Me
  8. Wait For Mary, Christmas
  9. O Holy Night
  10. Shake Up Christmas
  11. 2000 Miles
  12. Tinsel And Lights
  13. Merry Christmas Baby
  14. The Cherry Tree Carol
  15. Please Come Home For Christmas
  16. Run Run Rudolph
  17. Blue Christmas

Initial thoughts: A hybrid holiday album of sorts- plenty of pop, plenty or rock, tons of brass and big band instruments, and a whole lot of heart, hope and inspiration. Alternative in the sense that Train aren’t that popular nowadays… but at a whopping 17 tracks- there’s something on this album for everyone!

Reason to listen: These songs are just so fun, joyous, contagious and infectious. These songs make us want to dance… and songs like “O Holy Night”, “Shake Up Christmas”, “This Christmas” and “2000 Miles” are personal standouts and encourage me to sing at the top of my lungs this Christmas about Jesus’ birth and about the meaning of family and relationships.

Reason to buy: Train actually is an underrated yet compelling, thought-provoking and hopeful artist. This Christmas album showcases what Pat and his band do best- creating songs that make people think. Isn’t this reason enough to add a physical copy of this album to your collection? After all, I’d imagine you might want to listen to Christmas In Tahoe all year round. It’s that good, believe me!

Reason to skip: Once again, as with many albums I’ve written about, this Christmas album is more of a ‘holiday’ album than an album featuring songs about Jesus. If that cultural and family aspect of Christmas turns you off, then Train’s Christmas album won’t be for you.

No. of carols: 14

No. of originals: 3

No of guest artists: None. Yet Pat’s powerful and compelling vocals and thought-provoking original melodies, more than make up for the lack of any sort of vocal collaboration. It would have been nice for Pat to gather up guest vocals to sing with him, yet the strength of Christmas In Tahoe isn’t diminished in any way by having no guest vocals.

Does it have heart?: Yes there is passion, and so much, much heart. The original songs “Christmas Island”, “Wait For Mary Christmas” and “Shake Up Christmas” are quite a joy to listen to- and it’s clear on this project that Pat and his band are having a blast! It’s extremely evident through this album that everyone is having fun and having that time of their lives!

Does it have a Christmas-y atmosphere?: A Tahoe-y Christmas atmosphere? This album is like a rock album that celebrates the essence of Christmas in a tight knit family community. There’s an overall Christmas-y atmosphere here, but there’s also an atmosphere of a small-town kind of Christmas that we see on TV in those towns like in Hart Of Dixie. So Train probably has created two Christmas atmospheres’ possibly?

Uniqueness?: With half these songs seemingly unrecognisable (am I just not that cultured in terms of obscure Christmas songs?), this project is unique in that regard in that Train are bringing new life to tracks we’ve never truly heard before. Will listeners respond to these unheard gems and treasures? Maybe, but maybe not.

Christmas message: Only “O Holy Night” praises and worships God. Many times I’ve read about Pat’s lack of faith… so it’s no surprising that Christmas In Tahoe is a ‘holiday’ prominent album. Yet this album is quite different to high profile contemporaries like Blake Shelton’s Cheers, It’s Christmas, and Michael Bublé’s Christmas. So despite the lack of a religious slant on the Christmas message, Train’s album is still compelling and powerful to listen to.

Closing thoughts: An album full of many genres- this collection of 17 songs is a breath of fresh air that everyone needs to listen to! And pronto!

3 songs to listen to: This Christmas, Shake Up Christmas, Please Come Home For Christmas

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Yes/no; why/why not?: Yes- if only to semi-experience Christmas in a small town, and Christmas in the northern hemisphere. Will Christmas In Tahoe make you want to visit Tahoe? Take a listen and let me know!

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