Now a Christmas tradition, Trans-Siberian Orchestra will make a trek to St. Louis next month. I've been an outspoken critic of TSO for years now, and admit that my disdain toward the band has bred some unintentional negativity. This holiday season, let's explore the positive alternatives -- here are six Christmas staples that are better than Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
6. Watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Jim Carrey version That Ron Howard's movie remake of the Dr. Seuss classic book ranks above Trans-Siberian Orchestra is by no means an endorsement. How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a terrible, terrible film. The goofy Jim Carrey had already proven his diversity with The Truman Show, and should have known better. Yet, like The Ataris' cover of "Boys Of Summer" a few years back, the source material is solid enough that most hatred directed towards Grinch is based in its concept rather than its execution. Likewise, TSO can certainly play with an impressive level of proficiency. But its sources -- Christmas carols, hymns -- are far worse than Grinch AND its interpretations of the material truly need not exist. Furthermore, the band is guilty of contributing this nugget to the movie's soundtrack.
5. Getting fruitcake Fruitcake has become a punchline in the Christmas jokebook, and for why? Because it's tasteless? Because it's a gift you don't want but only receive from a distant relative who doesn't truly "get" you? Because it sits on your desk until spring staring at you in its worthlessness? If so, then the only difference between this maligned sweet and a gift-wrapped copy of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve and Other Stories is the fact that a fruitcake will eventually decompose in a landfill.
4. Watching Holiday commercials The most frowned upon ads this time of year are those which re-write the words to Christmas tunes to invade your subconscious. Really, Trans-Siberian Orchestra operates with this same principle: get song stuck in head, use song as reminder of product. T-Mobile hopes that you will think of their "Walking in a 4g Wonderland" commercial when you hear "Winter Wonderland", just like TSO wants every version of "Carol of the Bells" to remind you of its biggest hit "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24". Holiday commercials are better because they eventually go away. Christmas comes but once a year, but TSO will spend the summer supporting its non-Christmas albums, which sound like Meatloaf taking an oath of abstinence.
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