Patty Smyth Delivers Christmas Music So Smooth and Sophisticated, It's Scandalous

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of CriticalBlast.com or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
StumbleUpon icon
Del.icio.us icon
Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Patty Smyth Come On December Scandal

I was a Patty Smyth fan back in the days when she sang such hits as “The Warrior” and “Good Bye To You” with her band Scandal. She was not only beautiful but she also had a way of picking songs that showcased her talents, and a voice that put right up there with Pat Benatar in my book.

After Scandal broke up, I lost touch with what Patty was doing. I knew she married John McEnroe later on, but I lost touch with her musically. I recently discovered that I must have been living in somewhat of a musical shell, because I found out she has written and sung songs that have garnered her Grammy and Academy award nominations.

A short time ago Patty recorded a Christmas album, COME ON DECEMBER, on Parallel 22 Records.

“Wow”, I thought to myself. A former punk rocker releasing a holiday album! What style of music would it be? I had not heard any of the music she had done post Scandal, but I knew with her voice she could easily carry it off. But just how would she do it?

I was not prepared for what I heard. The Patty Smyth I heard on this CD was instantaneously recognizable by her voice, but the way she sang the songs was so different from what I remember. The traditional Christmas songs on the CD were sung with a smooth, jazz/cabaret style that just blew me away. They have this sophisticated style to them. Now I don’t mean like a smoky dim lit night club; I want you to think more along the lines of an uptown fine supper club. Patty brings this jazzy/bluesy smoothness to classics such as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "The Christmas Song," and "Do You Hear What I Hear."

The three songs on the CD she composed with Keith Mack allowed me to see what a very good songwriter she is. While these songs kind of break that supper club aura for me, they are no less enjoyable as they are nicely lyrical while telling their story in an engaging way that kept me focused on listening to them and not daydreaming. "Come on December" has a distinctive Scandal sound to it, while the other two, "Walk with Me" and "Broken," have a country music flavor.

Patty closes the album out with an awesome rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" that is at once fresh and at the same time like an old friend. Fresh in that it was the most complete version of the poem by Robert Burns that I ever heard, and sung just like the lyrics of the song warrant. It was an excellent close to an album titled COME ON DECEMBER, and the reflecting and reminiscing that the close of the year brings.  

The album is recorded very well, with a relatively small accompaniment of instruments laid out nicely across the soundstage, with Patty‘s voiced solidly placed center stage. While the soundstage is wide, it is not too deep -- but I’ll add that the shallowness adds to the overall sense of closeness one would feel in a supper club. The acoustic guitar was exceptionally well mic’d and complimented Patty’s voice perfectly, giving some of the songs a slightly “Old English” minstrel feel to them.

I can’t say enough what a nice album this is, and how awesome a performance Patty Smyth delivers here. I easily prefer her style of singing here to that of, say, Diana Krall, and would pay to see her where I would not for Krall.

 I am going to have to investigate her earlier post-Scandal music to hear what else she has done. In the meantime, this is a really nice CD to put on the stereo to a nice warm fire, sit back on the couch with your partner and a nice bottle of champagne in Baccarat flutes, and the room lit solely by the fire and the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree while the snow softly falls outside your window. To me, that’s the image Patty conjures up as you listen to her sing each song on this very enjoyable Christmas CD.

Songs:

  • Come On December

  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

  • Walk With Me

  • Winter Wonderland

  • The Christmas Song

  • Do You Hear What I Hear

  • Broken

  • Auld Lang Syne

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0