Various Artists - Monster Ballads Xmas [$18.97]
Hair metal is making a comeback in a big way. Thanks to a sweeping wave of nostalgia buoyed by the children of the '80s, now financially coming into their own, the much mocked and maligned genre is suddenly cool again. With the recent musical success of Motley Crue's comeback tour, and the Crue's Nikki Sixx and Poison's Bret Michaels jettisoning themselves into the current landscape of pop culture relevance (albeit at very different ends of the spectrum), other alumni from the pop metal scene are trying their hand at a possible second-wind. In spite of having fallen off the radar, many of these bands never really went away. Still cranking out pentatonic-punctuated albums, these bands are finally re-emerging from the Aqua Net mist. The light-hearted, yet musically solid hallmarks of hair metal lend themselves perfectly to this sort of compilation. With tracks ranging from the good, such as Winger's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)", to the cheesy-fun of Danger Danger's "Naughty, Naughty Christmas", Monster Ballads Xmas is a well-rounded disc of re-worked holiday favorites. Its charm lies within its lack of saccharine sap and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of many of the artists on the album. Although these bands have been out of the public ear for some time, devotees of the hard rock/pop metal genre will instantly recognize the signature sounds and styles of some of their favorites. This latest disc in the Monster Ballads franchise swells with a sizeable gift of holiday cheer. Just keep your Aqua Net-ted locks away from your menorah or Yule log.