Aimee Mann One More Drifter in the Snow

When Xmas rolls around, everyone thinks it’s the happiest time of the year. Who’s going to disagree with Bing Crosby? (Just ask his kids!) But, for slightly twisted souls, there’s always been a great wave of sadness that’s fluttered through those softly falling snowflakes. Take Sufjan Stevens’s admirable stab at holiday songs and Low’s merry masterpiece. Both of these celebrate on one hand, but also belie the stress and emotional weight the holiday provides. Aimee Mann straddles the line between admiration of the darkness of the season and a celebration of the cutesy elements, and sometimes it works, while other time it fits as well as Aunt Bertha’s hand knitted socks. "Whatever Happened to Christmas?” cuts the treacle of the original, but Mann’s duet with Grant-Lee Phillips on "You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” seems destined for younger ears with its hammy feel. Yet, Mann’s naturally pining voice and minimal instrumentation of "White Christmas” nicely subverts the original. Of course, even Mann doesn’t set out to make a willingly depressing Xmas album, but, hell, someone should. Thus, although this works overall for Mann fans, it is hardly essential. (SuperEgo)