Various Artists

School's Out Christmas

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

It's not clear exactly whose idea this was, the idea being, "Let's write a bunch of new Christmas songs; arrange them in contemporary teen pop, rock, hip-hop, and ska styles; and get a bunch of children's TV stars who aspire to be the next Britney Spears to sing them." The mysterious "D.M." is credited as "senior executive producer." Maybe that's some high mucky-muck in the St. Nicholas Music publishing company, which controls the many holiday compositions of Johnny Marks ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "A Holly Jolly Christmas," etc.), many of which are covered here among the new originals. Some St. Nicholas exec seems the likeliest culprit, with producer Derek Bramble and songwriter Al Kasha (co-author of the nauseous but Oscar-winning 1970s disaster-movie themes "The Morning After" [The Poseidon Adventure] and "We May Never Love Like This Again" [The Towering Inferno]) as un-indicted co-conspirators and Ron Dante (of Archies infamy) lurking in the background. In other words, there are some veteran hacks and exploiters of the teen market involved here. Not surprisingly, they have come up with derivative, uninspired dreck, over which a group of marginally talented young voices pipe earnestly. And why not? Great ability is not a requirement of teenybop success. What really matters is looking cute on TV, and these tikes are to be glimpsed on such shows as Grounded for Life, Lizzie McGuire, State of Grace, and The Bernie Mac Show. It's the television advertising campaign that is going to determine the success of this album; its sales should be directly measurable from that. And will Lynsey Bartilson or Ashlee Simpson be the next Avril Lavigne? Wait and see.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Myra 03:11 Amazon
2 Chris Trousdale 03:25 Amazon
3 Lynsey Bartilson 03:23 Amazon
4 Taylor Momsen / Camille Winbush 04:00 Amazon
5 Raven-Symoné 03:57 Amazon
6 Chris Trousdale 03:12 Amazon
7 Evan Rachel Wood 03:26 Amazon
8 Mae Whitman 03:25 Amazon
9 Camille Winbush 03:02 Amazon
10 Evan Rachel Wood 02:43 Amazon
11 Mae Whitman 03:25 Amazon
12 Ashlee Simpson 02:52 Amazon
13 Arvie Lowe Jr. 02:52 Amazon
14 Myra 03:35 Amazon
15 Lynsey Bartilson 03:23 Amazon
16 Raven-Symoné 03:28 Amazon
17 Daveigh Chase 02:45 Amazon
18 Knockout 03:10 Amazon
19 Taylor Momsen 02:37 Amazon
20 Tahj Mowry 03:04 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick