1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#73: Jillian Hall – A Jingle With Jillian (2007)

MATT KELLY has heard it all but this insane coupling of wrestling novelty and Christmas album takes the mouldy cake.

Note: I am reviewing the 2010 reissue which adds additional tracks. That’s right, this sold enough copies to warrant a second pressing. Explain yourself, planet Earth.

So, we’ve had terrible Christmas albums and we’ve had terrible wrestling albums on 1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear. What if these two crazy kids got together and made sweet sweet love and had a sick, sick baby? A Jingle With Jillian is here to answer this question.

All WWE wrestlers need a gimmick and as a heel, Hall’s gimmick had to be something which made her look sucky; she would be deluded about her singing ability, convinced she was a diva yet unable to hold a tune with baseball mitts and a washing basket. Hall would intro herself with a terribly sung song before each ring appearance and the schtick was such a hit with fans, we found ourselves with a Jillian sung Christmas record.

Now of course, Hall is in on the joke – she’s being facetious and is singing badly on purpose. But even that doesn’t do much to soften the sting of her nasal voice which somehow manages to be whiny and overpowered at the same time.

Though it’s only 20 minutes, AJWJ will still have you sweating – ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ is a particular endurance test as Hall laboriously vamps her way through each note with more vocal fry than Britney Spears at a fourth of July cookout contest.

‘Jingle Bell Rock’ is incredible too, with what appears to be a synthesized tuba flatulently undercutting every demented yelp from Hall – and oh my god, the moment when the horde of screeching multi-tracked Halls join in on backing vocals! Years off my life I’m telling you.

Her wretched, sanity threatening ‘Santa Baby’ is beyond horror and has the distinction of being the first time I’ve looked around for a gun to fire at my hi-fi in self-defense.

I have to hand it to Hall though – as performance art she’s really nailed it, perhaps even too well. This is supposed to be such a bad attempt at singing that it becomes comedy, but it’s almost too bad to laugh at. ‘Christmas Song’ haunts my dreams, every drawn out syllable a knife in my ears. “They know that SAAAAAAAAANTAAAAAS on his WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY”.

And there’s not even a Christmas remix of ‘Sliced Bread’ here. Boooooo.

 

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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