Review: Greg Dulli – “Have Yourself A Merry, Little Christmas”

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past 30 years, this just in: Greg Dulli’s a keeper, if he’d just allow us to keep him.

The Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers/Gutter Twins soul-rock leading man does it again today in the unconventional covers category, releasing on the Web a moody and decidedly NOT merry “Have Yourself A Merry, Little Christmas.” It is filled with raspy pleas, a droning, buzz-worthy backdrop and, yes, a slightly drunken piano line. In another words, it’s an absolutely gem for all us Sad Bastards (TM!) out there.

A lot of people will link the new single, premiered via Stereogum, I believe, back to Dulli’s brilliant reworking of David Bowie’s “Modern Love,” which the artist also self-released as a free single on the Web. (If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out.) I see it, however, more in the trajectory of songs like The Lesser Birds of Paradise’s “You Are My Sunshine,” which deeply taps the soul, the marrow, really, of the original and gets rid of all the clutter, to startling affect. Never before has the Christmas season evoked such chills. If this, indeed, were the spirit of the season, I cannot imagine any of us wingbats declaring war on it in the first place. A winner! – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, Dec. 14. 2018

About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.