In a time when nearly everything that is Christmas is bright, shiny, and on sale, some may still prefer a taste of innocent nostalgia. Nearly fifty years since the original Chipmunks filled the air with their helium-aided voices, Capitol Records release a sharp, new edition of their Christmas carols. Sure, these may be your Clyde Crashcup-era Chipmunks by sight, yet the pleasant singing as well as the amusing bouts of bickering still makes this a fine holiday album in the 21st century.
After all these years the roles of the Chipmunks and their frustrated father David Seville still rings through. Alvin continues to defy professionalism in the classic “The Chipmunk Song” as he adamantly requests the gift of a hula hoop. Nowadays the Xbox 360 and Ipod are the financially-demanding items that young people wish for, so Seville’s aggravated back-and-forth with Alvin comes across as more charming than forceful. Despite periodic episodes of youthful enthusiasm throughout the song, Seville still manages to conduct the Chipmunks with harmony before the escalated ending.
The rest of the songs included on this album are the traditional classics that most artists were singing fifty years ago as well as today. “Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” all get the high-pitched treatment with some peppy swing. The particularly giggly Theodore sings about his wish for the return of two important whistling tools in “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth),” while David Seville serenades the hard-working Chipmunks with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “White Christmas.” Aside from those two tunes, most songs on the record eventually feature the Chipmunk trio singing their appealingly charismatic versions.
Even though nearly every recording artist has offered their vocals for something related to the holidays (whether the public truly wanted them to or not), it is Alvin, Theodore, and Simon that continue to sing traditional Christmas carols effectively. The album may not be for someone who finds the sped-up vocals too trying, but whether it is played continuously for sixteen tracks or inserted in a mix of holiday tracks, Christmas With the Chipmunks is an engaging classic record that one can consider as a part of their holiday soundtrack.