Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

A Very Special Christmas [A&M, 1987]
You get J.C. Mellencamp rocking "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," Bon Jovi slavering "Back Door Santa," Madonna vamp-camping "Santa Baby," but you also get solemnity-and-a-half from Sting and Bob Seger and Whitney Houston (who in this context owes us some soul). No, what makes this the best Xmas album since Phil Spector got bored with Hanukkah is conceptual audacity: pop-rock sticks its schlock in your face, leaning on fourteen eternal hits only Scrooge and Steve Albini could hate on principle. And all for an utterly safe, indubitably worthy cause. This December I'm bringing it out to Queens for dinner. A-