Tyler, the Creator has released a Christmas EP. Nevermind that his connection to 2018’s movie, The Grinch (yet another Grinch revamp… what, did Jim Carrey’s age that fast?), sort of leaves him with an excuse of “well, while I’m here…”–however the hell we got here, we’re here, and we’re just going to have to learn to deal with the facts. And how do we deal with the more indigestible facts of life? Well… I don’t know about you, but at Silent Motorist Media, we celebrate them.
As you can tell from the video above, Anthony Fantano, AKA, “The Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd,” is not a fan of Tyler’s Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. I can’t be mad at that. Anthony is still (rightfully) enthralled by Tyler’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, a musical odyssey into Tyler’s back catalogue of influences by way of some seriously high-quality tunes. But come on, Anthony, you can’t expect a 10-minute EP inspired by a kid’s cartoon to compare to a full-length musical masterpiece. Tyler’s EP, to this metalhead’s ears, isn’t as bad as Fantano makes it out to be. The smooth, retrospective piano is still here, along with a dampened version of Tyler’s backing instrumentals. And yes, Tyler may be rapping about chocolate milk and the Grinch’s “big bag,” but this is a Christmas album, after all. There’s no call for all the bah-humbuggery.
In response to Fantano’s 3 out of 10 review, I think the music industry should formulate a supportive response to Tyler’s holiday endeavor. How? By making more ridiculous-ass Christmas albums. Here’s a few suggestions:
Jinglin’ Past the Graveyard by Tom Waits
Sure, the bizarre legend of music has been rather quiet lately (he’s nearly 70 for Christ’s sake), but you have to admit a Tom Waits Christmas album would be pure gold… or tinsel. There was “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” on Blue Valentine, so there’s no reason to believe that a whole album (or at least an EP) of like-minded holiday original tracks could surface in the future. Of course, Christmas albums don’t have to be unique compositions. I’d be happy to hear Waits croon eerily to an accordion-backed version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Even better, what about a percussive “Jingle Bells” based on the sharp, angular palette of the Real Gone era? I definitely see a lot of potential here.
The True Meaning of Yemas by Kanye West
Yes, I’ve had Kanye on the brain as of late (as you’re soon to discover this Sunday), but that doesn’t make a Kanye Christmas album any less of a brilliant idea. While I couldn’t see Kanye attacking the Christmas classics head-on, there’s every reason to believe he would find himself perfectly at home with a stack of Christmas LPs to sample. After all, “4th Dimension” from Kids See Ghosts, his 2018 collaborative effort with Kid Cudi, is entirely based around–you guessed it–a Christmas sample. See? Kanye and Christmas is a match made in heaven. Kanye’s self-obsession would serve him well here, since my grand vision includes skits between tracks where Kanye “deconstructs” the classic Santa-centric view of Christmas in front of children seated around, say, a stocking-adorned fireplace. As the album progresses, the malleable minds of Kanye’s audience learn the true meaning of “Yemas”: Christmas, like everything else important in American culture, is all about Kanye.
Christmas Boat by Lil Yachty
One great thing about classic Christmas songs is that everyone can sing them. They generally operate within a limited vocal range conducive to most people’s natural ability. Even if you’re entirely tone deaf, you can’t wander too far from a Christmas song’s melodic thrust (especially timeless gems like “Deck the Halls” or “Joy to the World,” which seem to require more shouting than singing). Given Lil Yachty’s inability to sing, I couldn’t think of a better project to blunt the slump of 2018’s Nuthin’ 2 Prove than a Christmas album. The happy, minimalist beats that have become Yachty’s trademark simply beg for the inclusion of Christmas bells. Besides, what does he have to lose? Lil Yachty has been in a sharp decline since Lil Boat. One thing a Christmas album certainly couldn’t do at this juncture in Yachty’s career is hurt.
Yuletide Slay Ride by Deicide
If 2018’s Overtures or Blasphemy proved anything for Deicide, it’s that these god-murdering metal giants still aren’t tired of basking in the same themes they’ve been trumpeting since the late eighties. For accuracy’s sake, I should probably say “theme” instead of “themes,” since their edgy Jesus hate seems to be the only connective tissue keeping Deicide alive. For my money, no holiday serves a more generous helping of canned Jesus than Christmas, making a Christmas album an ideal WMD for Deicide. Featuring toe-tapping originals such as “Babe Butchered in Bethlehem,” “Murdered in the Manger” and “Cannibalized Christmas Christ,” Yuletide Slay Ride would serve the double duty of annoying Christians while adding some oh-so-desperately-needed variety to Deicide’s discography. I’m inclined to suggest that the accompanying dose of levity required for such an undertaking might help Deicide on a psychological level as well. Maybe they’d finally be able to minimize whatever the hell got them so cranky at God to begin with. Who knows? Yuletide Slay Ride might mark the beginning of a path to recovery. Make a Christmas album, Deicide, for the sake of your health.
-Justin A. Burnett