If you are anything like me then the next few days will be amongst the most stressful of your year thus far, as you battle the crowds trying to cop those last minute presensts -- you know the ones you left too late for Amazon delivery -- and attempt to spread yourself ridiculously thin, trying to get those required visits to family and friends out the way, all before the food and drink marathon begins. The one thing that makes these shopping expeditions/visits particularly gruelling is the fact that in the shops, on the radio, and at peoples houses you are likely to hear a handful -- 10 at the max -- of infuriatingly insipid Christmas songs on repeat. My advice? Take your iPod everywhere! And if your iPod is lacking suitably festive music? Download Choklate's Fah La La La La: The Christmas EP.
At only six songs in length, and with two of those acting as interludes/outros, the EP is a brief affair, however it really has something for everyone. Opener "Tis The Season" should get even the biggest Christmas Grinch to break out a festive smile, with its sleigh-bell backing and Choklate's honey-coated, crystal clear vocals reminding us that, despite the stresses, this is meant to be a season of joy, peace, and happiness. "Christmas Time Again?" is a slice of contemporary R&B that, with a quick lyric rewrite, could have appeared on either of her albums with its mellow groove and pulsating keys. The track features Choklate's knack for straightforward story-telling, as she laments the fact that Christmas is often the only time that families make an effort to get in touch and spend time together.
"That Christmas Song (Roasted Chestnuts)" is Chok's take on the Nat King Cole standard "The Christmas Song." Here her vocals glide effortlessly over Kuddie Fresh's tight production, giving the Christmas-classic an updated sound while retaining the soul of the original. The final track, the light-hearted "Santa Sucks," sees Choklate giving us a glimpse of her humorous side, berating Santa for getting her order wrong.
As far as Christmas releases go, Choklate's Fah La La La La is a solid effort that can be filed alongside Jean Baylor's Light Up The World, and the '09 efforts of Ledisi and Rahsaan Patterson, as essential listening for any modern soul lover who wants a little something extra come December.