Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.

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PHIL SPECTOR

A Christmas Gift for You

(Philles)

They want you to write about this fuckin' convicted murderer, huh? No way. You are not doing that. You have principles. Right? They say you'll love it anyway, but you're not going to. No! Not this woman-murdering, horrible-wig-wearing dude. So it's not actually him singing. So it's cheerful and wholesome and Christmas-y. Doesn't matter! Ignore this.

It's hard to ignore, because this is great. I mean, the producing isn't great! Nuh-uh! The producing sounds totally, y'know, murder-y! But... it's all pretty goddamn catchy. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" with retro pop-soul wonderfulness, a "Ding-a-ling, ding-dong-ding" chorus behind "Sleigh Ride"? Who are these vocalists?! (The Crystals and the Ronettes.) Amazing! I mean, Christmas music is crap; we're all exhausted by it. But who can argue with these jingle bells and the horses in the background and the smiling girl-group style? I bet they're wearing matching outfits. It's hard to hate.

No! You are not liking this! Distract yourself! I always find a good distraction to be getting drunk and playing Oregon Trail. Did you know you can still play that online? I always forget how much everyone always drowns in this game! Try to ford one river and bam, half your party is dead. Also interesting: If you played this in elementary school, were you someone who named all the characters after your friends (like me) or someone who named all the characters Butts, Poop, and Boogers? A friend was reminiscing about the hilarity of reading "Butts has died of dysentery." I didn't even think of that as a kid. What a prude.

Wait, what is that squelchy horn in the background of "Marshmallow World"? Oh god, am I enjoying a saxophone this much? That's just embarrassing. And on the second half of the album, there's a new addition of these tik-tik-tik musical sticks knocking together—it's fantastic. "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" opens with shining trumpets—you can just see the trumpeters, at least three in a row, also in matching outfits, moving back and forth in unison—then a verse, then a tikka-tik-tik-tik-tik solo. Is it just drumsticks?

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Okay, crap: Obviously, this music is pretty wonderful. Liking it doesn't mean you have to condone murder. Just enjoy it, and ignore the specter of Spector. WAIT, HE RUINED IT! AT THE VERY END! DAMN YOU, PHIL SPECTOR!!! The last track is: Phil Spector talking directly to the listener. "Hello, this is Phil Spector." He's talking about his feelings and music and Christmas. Ewww! Do yourself a favor: Find a way to delete the last track.

I give this a "Merry Christmas, non-murderers!" out of 10. recommended

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