Earth, Wind & Fire are pretty legendary aren’t they? The funk pioneers have been going for over 40 years and they enjoyed their highest charting album since 1981’s Raise with 2013 album Now, Then and Forever. This festive season the band is releasing its first ever (yes we can’t believe it either) Christmas album entitled Holiday.
Holiday features 11 classic Christmas songs along with two original songs that the band hopes will soundtrack your holiday festivities. The album opens with Joy To The World and immediately a problem arises. It could be personal taste but the funked up versions of Christmas classics are just a little bit odd to our ears. Joy To The World starts off promising but it’s simply far too funky taking out most of the Christmas feel of the song.
Unfortunately the Christmas part of all of the songs is pretty much bypassed in favour of the standard Earth, Wind & Fire funk and disco rhythms. Winter Wonderland sounds like its been remixed with Boogie Wonderland and honestly its barely recognisable. Elsewhere on the album there’s a reggae-lite feel to Sleigh Ride, an African vibe to The Drummer Boy, and a jazz interpretation of Away In A Manager. If all of this sounds a bit bizarre it’s because it is!
The only moment that we actually thought got near to the Christmas feel of the song was O Come All Ye Faithful and even that one goes off into an extended instrumental that bears little resemblance to the actual song.
We love Earth, Wind & Fire but sadly we don’t love this album. One of the things we love about Christmas music is the traditional wintery feel of the songs and unfortunately Earth, Wind & Fire have funked the Christmas right out of these songs. We admire them for trying something different but this just doesn’t work for us at all. Colour us very disappointed.