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  Happy Christmas 3
Artist: Various Artists
Label: BEC Recordings
Length: 15 tracks (The pre-release received don't include all of the songs.)

It's hard to judge a Christmas rock CD. On one hand, the whole idea of Christmas music put to a rock sound is just plain cool, not to mention fun to show off during the holidays. On the other hand, it really doesn't take much skill or talent to make a Christmas rock song that people will enjoy. The mere fact that the song has been made is generally enough for the listener.

Happy Christmas 3 is not necessarily composed solely of rock music, but many of the songs live up to that moniker. The album is the sequel to 1998's Happy Christmas and 1999's Happy Christmas 2. Compared to those two releases, the third segment of the trilogy seems to come up short. 

Happy Christmas 3 features several big-time names in Christian alternative music such as Relient K, Bleach, Hangnail, Kendall Payne, Earthsuit, Joy Electric, Starflyer 59, and more. Since all of these artists contribute different sounds, this album is somewhat a melting pot of musical styles. Most of the songs struck me as decent, but not particularly special. However, there are a few gems here:

Hangnail's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" is full of all the energy that you would expect from Hangnail, a band that could cover just about any Christmas song and make you enjoy it. Kendall Payne succeeds surprisingly well with her rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel", a softer take on the song than we heard from Chasing Furies on Happy Christmas 2. "I'll Be Home for Christmas"; seems to be the song that Starflyer 59 was born to do and as a result they pull it off quite well. The album closer "I Hate Christmas Parties" from Matt Thiessen (of Relient K) comes off as a well-written and heartfelt ballad.

All things accounted for, there are some good songs here, but I have a hard time saying this is a good album. Still, it's not that bad and as Christmas CDs go--you have to take what you can get.

Trae Cadenhead 11/10/2001



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