“It’s Christmas” shouts Noddy Holder on every Christmas compilation album and on every mainstream radio show and on every Spotify playlist. Having a popular Christmas song can be very lucrative. People may not know any other Slade songs, but they will have heard Noddy shouting “It’s Christmas.”
So it’s no real surprise that the band the Goo Goo Dolls have decided its’ time to release a Christmas album. Originating from Buffalo, New York, The Goo Goo Dolls (known as The Goo’s by fans) original sound, was a mix of post-grunge and alternative rock. Guitarist & vocalist Johnny Rzeznik moved the band into a more mainstream direction, which led to the Goo’s having a long string of hit songs throughout the ’90s and ’00s but are probably best known for their 1998 massive hit song “Iris.”
Released by Warner Music It’s Christmas All Over is a ten-track album, mercifully only running to just over half an hour. For some reason, the band has made a conscious and misguided decision to move away from their rock sound to record the Christmas standards in a bland, characterless pop style. Songs such as “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and especially “Let It Snow” could have been recorded by anyone. It’s impossible not to think of the film “Love Actually” and Billy Mack, the ageing rock star, desperate for one more hit, played with such warmth and humour by Bill Nighy. Except here the Goo Goo Dolls haven’t added any warmth, humour or character.
Elsewhere “Shake Hands With Santa Claus” does add a little cheesy fun and warmth, especially with the brass band backing. “This Is Christmas” is an original song happily sitting in The Goo’s trademark ballad camp, think of the big hits like “Name.” The almost swing style on “You Ain’t Getting Nothing,” another original song, is actually great fun.
It’s Christmas All Over is a real mixture of attempted styles that don’t really flow together. At no point do you want to put on a silly reindeer jumper and a paper crown. If you’re a fan of the Goo’s you might find something to enjoy here, but for everyone else, just avoid.