It's officially the Holiday season, which is why Poptimystic is finally ready to address the Christmas albums on the charts. Even though they've been there for at least three weeks. Two of Billboard's top ten albums are seasonal, and Billboard, remember, is about a week and a half behind what people are actually buying right now. Eight of Amazon's current top ten albums are Christmas albums. Leading the charge is everyone's favorite Scottish homebody, Susan Boyle.
Susan Boyle may not be quite the industry juggernaut that Taylor Swift and Glee are, but she's easily a top five unit-mover. And her success is very similar to those two: Fan base made of people who have never heard of file sharing, least common denominator appeal achieved by taking no risks of any kind, TV-created celebrity persona.
This, Boyle's second album, may not have performed as well as it has (two weeks in a row on top of the Billboard) were it not a Christmas album. The novelty has worn off a bit, but while Grandma may be all set on Susan Boyle singing random standards, her Christmas CD drawer still has plenty of room for crap like this. The odd track by miles and miles is track one: "Perfect Day," by Lou Reed. It's possible there have never been two more opposite people in pop music.
This Reed/Boyle thing is insanely convoluted. Reed prevented Boyle from performing "Perfect Day" on Britain's Got Talent on the grounds that she is terrible. Or maybe that wasn't why. He cleared her to put the cover on The Gift, which is strange, and then he came up with the concept for the music video, which was stranger.
Susan Boyle's camp kind of suggested he had a hand in directing it, and then eventually Reed's camp said that wasn't the case, and people were left scratching their heads. Lou Reed is probably just trying to screw with everyone, and Susan Boyle probably has even less of an idea of what's going on than we do.
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Regardless, the cover is on the album. Go listen to it if you're into mind fuckery. Remember folks, this is a song that is most commonly interpreted as being about Lou Reed's addiction to heroin, and the previous most famous cover of it was performed by Duran Duran.
And back to holiday cheer. The other Christmas album on the Billboard chart is, at number two, O, Holy Night by Jackie Evancho, who is a ten-year-old version of Susan Boyle. Seriously: She got famous by performing on America's Got Talent, and she sings like a high-school choir lead. Our sincerest hope is that she sings the hook on the next Willow Smith single, and we hope it's about how bittersweet they feel about graduating fourth grade.
Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas II You fell from number four to number 22 this week, which is a shame. It features a re-recording of one of the best Christmas songs ever, "All I Want For Christmas Is You," and this year's cut is literally subtitled "extra festive." If flowery orchestration for thirty seconds and an extended outro constitute extra festivity, then I guess it's accurate. Whatever -- this album deserves to be purchased on the continuing merit of the 1994 original. It's the Holidays, people. Let's get this shit started.