by Lexi Matthews ’18
As the holiday season rolls around every year, the usual Christmas songs are taken off their virtual shelves and played on loop for weeks on end. While everyone can enjoy tapping their foot along to the beat of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” or humming Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” in the early days of December, many find that these upbeat tunes have gone stale long before it’s time to open any presents. Luckily, senior Tim Lee has an answer to this age-old problem.
Teaming up with junior Skittles Hur, senior Simon Gosselin and Sherwood alum Nick Huff (‘17), Lee recorded, produced, and released a Christmas album of his own on December 23. The album, entitled “A Very Merry Christmas,” includes the quartet’s four fresh versions of classic holiday melodies featuring Hur and Gosselin on vocals, Huff on guitar, and Lee on production and bass.
“Initially the project started off as a joke between me and [Huff], but one day I asked him to come over and play with me and we ended up doing it. It turned out a lot better than I expected, if we’re being honest. I’m really proud of all the work everyone put in over the three weeks it all took, and I hope everyone likes it” said Lee.
“A Very Merry Christmas” opens with simple, jazzy chords of a guitar and Hur’s smooth soprano voice in “Christmas Song.” Hur provides her own angelic harmonies added in digitally behind her main verses, along with an R&B-style beat that sweeps in and out of the track. The song’s simplistic, easygoing atmosphere provides an apt introduction to the album as a whole.
“It’s not the most serious album, but it was a lot of fun overall. Surprisingly, I think it turned out great and I hope there’s more to come soon” said Hur.
Track two, “Jingle Bells,” begins with the sampling of a cheery bell noise, true to its SoundCloud aesthetic without being overtly goofy. Between the traditional “Jingle Bells” lyrics sung again by Hur, Lee lays down an original rap verse under the alias ‘CheeZy.’ With his voice heavily autotuned for humorous effect, the song stands as a fun break from the classics. “I wanted the album to be jazzy in my initial vision, but it ended up having a lot more rap influence than planned. Stylistically, though, mixing the two ended up being pretty cohesive” said Lee.
Gosselin joins Hur on vocals “White Christmas,” which has racked up almost 4,000 plays on SoundCloud as of publication. Gosselin’s deep, crooning voice wonderfully compliments Hur’s soft, sweet one, but the real treat of the song comes from Lee’s guitar solo halfway through.
Singing solo on the final track, Gosselin closes the album with a lovely version of “Feliz Navidad” that features Huff’s upbeat strumming and a sample of a cha-cha beat. The song adopts a more R&B style as it progresses, staying on track with the new-wave ambiance that graces the whole EP.
Despite the band never recording all together throughout the entire process– Lee met and worked with each artist individually then mixed everything at the very end– the album possesses an impressive amount of cohesion and professional-sounding style. With a set of songs that can be a bit heavy in reverb and home-grown charm, it certainly never feels that the quarter is lacking in effort or talent.