A famous punk rock band known for criticizing religion releases a Christmas album? Is it any good? AHA’s Meghan Hamilton reviews the latest from Bad Religion.
Even nonbelievers can agree that Christmas songs don’t have to have deep meaning to the listener to be appreciated as a sign of the winter season. As an atheist, hearing Christmas music simply reminds me of the wonderful things the winter season brings—gleaming white snow, a glowing fire illuminating a cold winter’s night, time spent with family, celebrating the passing of another year, and my childhood Christmas memories of how my mother would play the same Bing Crosby or Judy Garland tapes over and over again as we prepared dinner and wrapped presents together.
Bad Religion, one of the most influential punk bands of the past three decades, has released a Christmas album entitled “Christmas Songs” loaded with all the classics from “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” to “Little Drummer Boy.” The band is known for their detest of conformity, using religion as an example encompassing anything that takes away from one’s personal freedom and expression, and yet put out an album compiled of songs oozing with Christianity. The irony here should not be lost here. Although I can understand how this may rub non-believers the wrong way, when you get down to it, the album is just good.
The nine song album consists of many of the familiar, over played songs we have unavoidably come to know including “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Hark the Herald Angel Sings,” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Fans can expect to hear the familiar fast, aggressive energy we have grown to love complete with the expected harmonization and poppy melody’s that are so distinctively Bad Religion. Considering the nature of Bad Religion’s typical lyrical content, and with the inclusion of the remixed classic “American Jesus” just to reaffirm their position and put a little grin on fans’ faces, this album can be taken quite sardonically. But if that doesn’t do it for you, another bonus is that twenty percent of the proceeds from the record sales of this album will be donated to SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). This is a cause I think we can all support, regardless of our own personal religious views.
Of course there will be those nonbelievers who may not agree with the album consisting of songs representing an already grossly exploited holiday, where the lyrical significance has been pushed aside by the nostalgic melodies. But, believer or not, if you are a Christmas music fan, this is an album to buy. You’ll get the same songs we have all come to recognize but with an energetic punch. It’s fast, it’s loud, and it’s fun. It’s Bad Religion.