— from my 2007 piece in the OC Weekly about Christmas music that just shouldn’t be. And I stand by this. (Apparently the band agrees; I’ve heard they play a much different arrangement of the song these days, and who could blame them? I also recommend Jody Rosen’s 2005 NYT piece on Mannheim Steamroller and Davis.)
"Perhaps the best example, though—and certainly the most appropriate for Orange County and its overdressed, overdecorated malls this time of year—is the triumphant belch of holiday irritation foisted on us via Mannheim Steamroller. The stroke of evil genius that led Chip Davis, mastermind of a sweetly dull take on new-age instrumental rock, to record the original MS Christmas album in 1984 and several awful sequels since has resulted in something that’s now its own tradition, one that always prompts a heavy sigh whenever I encounter it. The bright chirpiness of their take of “Deck the Halls” is a shoppers’ anthem in excelsis: a fartily pompous synth playing the main melody, sparkling strings that bespeak oodles of tinsel, and an overall arrangement that sounds like it should be introducing a local newscast’s Martha Stewart knockoff feature on how to make ye olde Christmas chocotinis. It’s practically inviting you into Sears to purchase 8,000 gifts and to further make you feel guilty when you forget someone on your list, even while you dodge complaining people in the South Coast Plaza parking lot feeling annoyed that you dared get in the way of their SUVs."