Last Year First

From First to Last remembers last year's January First.

Adam Sandler, "The Chanukah Song": Dubiously amusing the first time around, Sandler's outing of Jewish celebs as a matter of pride is about as painful a repeat listen now as "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." And Jewish grandmas don't really like that line, "Smoke your marijuanakkah."

Barenaked Ladies,Barenaked for the Holidays: Following in the footsteps of such musical Canadian Jews as Leonard Cohen and William Shatner, Barenaked Ladies frontman (and resident Semite) Steven Page led his wretched band through Hanukkah songs like "I Have a Little Dreidel" and "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah" — all of them making "One Week" sound like "Hey Jude" in comparison.

Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics: This holiday album from the creators of South Park does include the genuinely funny, Stan-sung lament "The Lonely Jew on Christmas." But be warned: Great-Uncle Shlomo might not appreciate the Cartman-as-Hitler version of "O Tannenbaum."

The LeeVees,Hanukkah Rocks: A valiant effort from this Jewpergroup led by Adam Gardner (of Guster) and Dave Schneider (of the Zambonis), this just-released album comes closer than anything in recent memory to delivering legit new Hanukkah songs but still crumbles under the weight of the overall gimmick. "Latke Clan" and "Jewish Girls (at the Matzoh Ball)" sound like Hanukkah on the Kinks' tour bus circa 1966, while "Applesauce vs. Sour Cream" plays like a Hebrew They Might Be Giants (They Might Be Nudniks?). Not bad, but not likely to stand the test of time.

Neil Diamond,12 Songs: While not exactly Hanukkah-related, this is one fine comeback album from Diamond (aka "The Jewish Elvis") produced by Rick Rubin, that nice Jewish boy from Long Island. Crank this, then spin that friggin' dreidel and hope for the best. Go, gimmel! Michael Alan Goldberg

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