Artist: "Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors"
Album: "Horny Holidays"
Label: Triple X Records
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Review: In December, it’s all Christmas music all the time at the Burbank Household, because you can’t really have a violent, degrading yuletide season without a soundtrack. My collection of X-mas albums is wide and deep, but I only ever needed to pull one out of holiday rotation, and “Horny Holidays” is that album. I don’t draw the line anywhere, but once your kids get to the age where they repeat stuff, a Christmas album that has a track featuring explicit lyrics about man-on-reindeer action has pretty much got to go.
Shock value aside, this is an odd album in a number of ways. For any Mojo Nixon fans out there, this is no “Bo-Day-Shus!!!”. It was recorded at a weird time in Nixon’s career, after he’d parted ways with former partner Skid Roper and Enigma records went belly up, putting much of Mojo’s catalogue in legal limbo. I think it’s the first album he recorded with his back up band, the Toadliquors, and it sounds like what it is, a drunken, foul mouthed romp through some R&B Christmas classics and a lot of good natured screwing around that got recorded and mixed down. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. I love Mojo and am quite happy listening to a lot of high-spirited hillbilly holiday howling. I don’t know if “Horny Holidays” was a spur of the moment, novelty project but that’s what it feels like. Mojo at his best has a raw, rabid sloppiness I suspect is carefully crafted, and this albums sloppiness seems more authentic so nowhere near as good if you catch my drift.
That being said, even bad Mojo Nixon tracks bring on a half rictus, up all night, hair of the dog smile I can’t help but enjoy. Removed from the context of his other work and seen instead as a singular moment in the much neglected sub category of weird as hell Christmas albums, it’s a downright gem. I particularly like his reworking of one old Christmas classic that ends up rhyming “We Three Kings of Orient are” with “Throwing up in our Dad’s car”. The opening cut, a rousing “Happy Birthday” sung to Jesus is delightful by any set of standards, as long as those standards are mine.
While my kids are well past the years of mindlessly repeating unfortunate overheard snatches of lyric, they are smack in the middle of the ‘Things it’s uncomfortable and to find funny while in the presence of parents’ years. Well, my oldest is. My youngest would love this album, which is why I still don’t play it. Many years from now, when she’s out on her own terrorizing anybody with a set of definable values, I’ll send it to her as a Christmas present.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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