Strolling down Gangnam Boulevard last night I was accosted by a giant sheep who thrust a CD into my hands and wished me a Merry Christmas. Slightly startled and fearing for my sobriety and mental health, I was relieved to see the cool blue luminescence of the Paris Baguette Cafe sign above me. "This is Korea," I told myself, "Giant Christmas Sheep loitering outside major bakery chains are a part of everyday life..."
Consoled by this ultimate truth I glanced down at the CD in my hands and was shocked to discover that I had been granted an exclusive copy of Paris Baguette's latest foray into the world of music: The Paris Baguette Christmas EP!
I skipped gaily down the avenue, smiling at the mask covered faces of anonymous office workers and possible H1N1 sufferers, delighted with the joys of Christmas. A free CD, for me, Paul Ajosshi! How can that be! I feel so free. Wait.. I need to wee...
After a brief visit to the toilets at Gangnam station, I was on my way again with a song in my heart and a bounce in my step. As I squeezed onto the packed 421 bus to Itaewon I felt complete. I had in my possession the one thing which would make for a perfect Christmas, the one thing that would bring happiness to me on these cold dark nights.
Waving goodbye to the driver and the other 87 passengers, I stumbled off the bus at Itaewon station, dodged the tiny angry old man brandishing his umbrella and ran all the way home.
Slamming the door shut, ripping off my coat and opening a Cass lite; I switched on my Macbook and prepared for 16.4 minutes of ecstasy.
So here it is my blow by blow account of the Paris Baguette Christmas EP (All track names are as printed in the pamphlet):
Track 1: 2PM - 파리바게뜨 케이크송 (Original Mix)
As the nasal tones of 2PM greet you, your bile starts to rise and is only inflamed by the hideous rap section and the fact that they manage to emphasize all the wrong syllables in "Christmas". At several points in this 65 second track it feels as if there has been a mistake and that the needle has become stuck, then you remember that this is not the 1970s, this is not vinyl and some idiot has done it deliberately. As the commercial/song grinds to a halt we're a left with the words "Paris Baguettoo" and a sense of despair akin to that of watching a baby seal being clubbed to death.
Track 2: Frosty & The Snowmen - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Straight out of a shopping mall in Wisconsin, this ultra twee interpretation of the Christmas classic is a breath of fresh air after 2PM, but ultimately only appeals to the three year old child in me and leaves the Ajosshi bored and slightly aggravated. The nicest thing I can say is that at 81 seconds, Rudolph doesn't outstay his welcome.
Track 3: Boys Tostes - Sligh Ride
Boys Tostes brings us a latin themed lounge track, that wouldn't be out of place in Starbucks. Not too bad, a little cheesy, but not vomit inducing.
Track 4: Monique Kessous - Jingle Bell
Soft jazz leads us into Monique's gentle interpretation of this holiday ditty. Nowhere near as good as Barbra Streisand's batshit crazy version, but again not too bad at all. Unfortunately at 2 minutes and 56 seconds it does drag on a bit...
Track 5: John Pizzarelli - Let It Snow, Let It Snow
John Pizzarelli's voice scares me, his slightly whiny pleading hints at possible serial killer tendencies. I want him to leave immediately, he is not welcome in my house. What's more worrying is the collection of Teamsters who shout "Let it snow" in the background, has he brought his friends with him to this romantic rendezvous? What are they doing here? Please don't hurt me John, please don't hurt me.
Track 6: Liz Menezes - Winter Wonderland
I may have fallen into a Samba induced coma from this incredibly slow and extremely dull song. It may only be 2 minutes 28 seconds, but it feels like eternity.
Track 7: 2PM - 파리바게뜨 케이크송 (SWING BROS. Remix)
Do I have to listen to this? Really? At 3 minutes and 13 seconds, this nightmarish
travesty of a musical experience is enough to make your ears bleed. The terrible use of autotune does nothing to comfort my soul and by the time it gets to the electric guitar solo I am on the floor, covering my ears and writhing in pain. Why? Why? Why? Who chose to make this terrible excuse for a song? Who taught young Korean men to pronounce Christmas "christMAS"? When will K-pop stars stop making commercials and start making music? Why did I ever bother listening to this CD in the first place?
If a giant Christmas sheep accosts you today or tomorrow and offers you this CD, don't make the mistake I did. Run, run as fast as you can. Hide in Tous Les Jours or Dunkin Donuts(they can't get you there), just make sure that you never have to listen to this monstrosity. I've heard it and I don't think Christmas will ever be the same again. Learn from my mistake and have yourselves a very Merry Christmas...
This has been a Public Service Announcement from Paul Ajosshi.