When it comes to modern holiday classics, it’s tough to beat Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” or Mr. Garrison’s “Merry Fucking Christmas.” But as long as there’s a Trans-Siberian Orchestra, then releases like “A Santa Cause/It’s a Punk Rock Christmas” will always be most welcome. With 21 tracks in all, the disc offers a mix of originals and traditionals, as recorded by a number of underground (and not-so-underground) punk and emo acts. Despite being billed as a benefit album for The Pediatric AIDS foundation, the album is at times too cynical and cute for its own good.
Yes, it’s supposed to be punk rock holiday tunes performed in a punk rock fashion. Certainly this approach works for a few tracks, including From First To Last’s 12 Days twist “X12Days of Xxxmasx” and Nerf Herder’s hidden track “Santa’s Got a Mullet.” But by and large, tunes like Blink-182’s “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas” almost beg for the listener to respond in kind with “Good, we didn’t want you anyway. And just who in the hell invited you to a punk rock Christmas anyway?”
“Santa Cause” starts off right with The A.K.A.’s covering RUN-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.” From a Gen X point of view, it’s nearly impossible to hear that song too much, no matter who’s performing it. And although the A.K.A.’s resort to the now-obligatory “RIP Jam Master Jay” shout out, the cut still ranks as one of the disc’s highlights. Other gems include Acceptance’s cover of John Lennon’s “So This is Christmas” and Far’s “Feed the World (Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which features The Deftones Chino Moreno and does Bob Geldof’s original all-star collaboration justice. MxPx offers a killer original with “Christmas Night of Zombies,” although the tune is simply begging to be performed by Gabby and the Cadillac Tramps.