The holidays mean music, and oftentimes horrible music. You know it – chimey digital synths from the eighties with their bad piano sounds or impossibly huge angelic choirs that make you think judgment day is around the corner rather than a joyous holiday. Not everything can be the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – seriously, it’s really good and fits almost any event – and not every party is appropriate for the few Bruce Springsteen or James Brown songs that have become semi-classic holiday favorites.
Alan Chang's Cold December Night is good stuff all around. First off, it sounds amazing. Too often anything holiday related just gets thrown together and put out as fast as possible. There was some real care in the production and recording of this album and it comes through. Second, it has real strings and real piano, with real people that can play them. The arrangements are played by musicians from the touring band of Michael Bublé – although you shouldn’t hold that against them – and are really top notch. In the current world where parts are often thrown in by way of samples from one keyboard player, it’s great to hear real musicians interacting with each other.
The tracks are all favorites that you’d want to hear, and you’ll hear them in a way that’s new – quite a feat for songs we’ve all heard over and over. For those times over the holidays where we have to pretend like we are adults – as much as we’d like to be either ripping through presents from under the tree or powering down scotch until we can tell the boss what we really think – at least we have Cold December Night to make it all a bit more festive.