Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"File under: Things You Knew You Never Wanted. Scott Weiland, the mercurial front man of Stone Temple Pilots, apparently had debonair pop traditionalism in mind when he made his Christmas album. Never mind that his best efforts as a crooner call to mind the meretricious jollity of the Grinch in Santa guise. Never mind that his take on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” delivered in a blurry warble, reeks of stale delusions. You’re meant to buy into Mr. Weiland’s sweater-vest sincerity as soon as the strings begin their swoon on “The Christmas Song,” stealing blatantly from Nat King Cole’s pacesetting version of the tune. You’re meant to admire the light churn of the big band on the album’s title track, and the way that Mr. Weiland gets through it. And what about the resort-reggae arrangement of “Silent Night,” or the faux-bossa of “Happy Christmas and Many More,” a stray original? Maybe, just maybe, they’re a signal that Mr. Weiland is in on the joke." -The New York Times
Personnel: Scott Weiland (vocals); Doug Grean (guitar, keyboards, electric bass); Andrew Tholl, Ronit Kirchman, Eric "km" Clark, Orin Hildestad (violin); Natalie Brejcha, Joshua Heaphey (viola); Ashley Walters, Jessica Catron (cello); Michael Birnbryer (flute, clarinet, saxophone); Josh Aguiar (trumpet); Otto Granillo (trombone); Matt Politano (piano); Matt Cory (upright bass); Dana Thompson , Daniel Schnelle (drums); Joseph 'Panhead' Peck (steel drum, percussion); Erin Aiello, Phil Winterbone (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Doug Grean.
Very few people may have been waiting for a Christmas record from Scott Weiland, but that doesn't mean reindeer sweaters are an uncomfortable fit for the rocker. Unabashed Bowie fan that he is, Weiland has always shown a weakness for crooning, slipping into a slur even on Core, but The Most Wonderful Time of the Year allows him to indulge in his Thin White Duke obsession to his heart's content. Maybe he doesn't re-create Bowie's duet with Bing Crosby on "Little Drummer Boy," but he surely cops Der Bingle's warble on "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland," then layers in harmonies out of Hunky Dory on "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," all coloring for a record that is, like so many traditional holiday albums from rockers, shamelessly patterned on Sinatra's classic Christmas albums (well, with the exception of "Silent Night," whose Casio rhythms are straight out of Tiny Music). The thing is, Weiland doesn't quite take this all seriously -- there are layers of kitsch in his bossa nova swing, not to mention that repeated Bing mimicry or the decision to have "O Holy Night" bounce along to a reggae beat -- yet he's not being ironic, either. Weiland sounds loose, like he's discovered how to have fun in the studio, and if he hasn't made a holiday album for the ages, at least he's cut one that's enjoyable. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine