Phil Spector – A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector (1963)
I’ll admit it: I love Keanu Reeves.
Yes that Keanu Reeves.
The one who loudly exclaimed, “my name’s Johnny Utah!” in Point Break and confidently proclaimed “I know Kung Fu” in The Matrix.
I’m teased relentlessly when I confess my Reeves reverence, heckled by nay-sayers that toss around adjectives like ‘wooden’ and phrases like ‘can’t act’ when describing his craft. To them, I counter with something as relevant yet rhyming as ‘don’t hate, appreciate’ or I simply tune them out!
My faith in him was rewarded when tales of his off-screen generosity & humility started to emerge.
Sometimes the more you know about a celebrity, the better.
Phil Spector is not Keanu Reeves.
Instead, he falls under the ‘less you know, the better’ category.
Yet even when focusing exclusively on his body of work, his lone Beatle production, Let it Be, is likely my least favourite in their catalogue. Not being a real audiophile, I’ve never fully understood his musical legacy. Admittedly, in cases like this one, it’s tough to separate the artist from the art (especially when the artist name also creeps into the album name).
Whhen I changed my Chinese Democracy track info to be categorized under ‘Axl Rose’ instead of ‘GNR’, my listening experience improved. Same favourable outcome here when I approached these songs as ‘Ronnettes’ or ‘Crystals’ tunes as opposed to being credited to the producer.
I don’t know if any of the tracks would be considered the definitive versions of a given carol but as a package it works well.
The arrangements are festive and with the right lens, there’s plenty to enjoy.
What I suggest: transfer tracks 1-12 to an unlabelled CD, focus on the performers & their performances, and voilà, you’ve got another dozen good tracks in the holiday rotation.
Or even more if Keanu’s band ever gets around to making that Christmas album…