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  The Magic of Christmas
Artist: Joy Electric
Label: Tooth & Nail
Length: 10 tracks, 22:12

Christmas albums are an interesting oddity. If an artist is even remotely close to being good, people are sure to snap up their Christmas CD because there aren't a whole lot of good choices out there when it comes to holiday music. Ronnie Martin AKA Joy Electric releases The Magic of Christmas in the spirit of this idea, but most people will probably find themselves wishing that his brother Jason (of Starflyer 59) had released the Christmas CD for the family instead.

Of course, Joy Electric is a musical oddity in its own right. With music composed entirely of the synthesizer work of Ronnie Martin, Joy Electric makes music for the Nintendo age. Some people love it, some hate it, but everyone must admit that it is unique. Musically, The Magic of Christmas makes no departure from previous Joy Electric ventures. These are like the majority of JE's other songs, except they have Christmas lyrics..

Most of the albums songs are tolerable, with a few fun moments coming in the form of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Frosty the Snowman" which can actually be quite enjoyable for the first few listens.

The problem comes in the fact that the album is composed of ten songs and runs a grand total of 22 minutes. For a full length album, this is absolutely pathetic. Add to that the fact that the songs "Winter Wonderland" and "Lollipop Parade" were previously released on albums a couple of years ago and you've got something not worth dropping much cash on. The Magic of Christmas is an interesting oddity, but a poor investment for music listeners.

Trae Cadenhead 11/19/2003


Trae Cadenhead is a student at Union University. He is pursuing a Digital Media Studies major with a Film Studies minor and plans to become involved in film making following school. Trae also has an enormous interest in music. Along with writing for the Tollbooth, Trae maintains, a digital archive of his thoughts on music and movies as well as a gallery of the art and video work he is doing.

Joy Electric is Christmas. Well, Christmas meets candyland with candy canes, lollipops and the electric joy toy company. It is surprising that Ronnie Martin has not done a Christmas album before. 

As for _The Magic of Christmas_, it features one Joy Electric original and nine covers including “Deck the Halls,” “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas,” and “Winter Wonderland.” 

It seems like Ronnie should have done “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” Also of all the Christmas carols there are only two about Christ: “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “What Child is This?” 

Although the CD is possibly the shortest 10-song CD ever--timing in at just over 20 minutes, Ronnie manages to take the genre of dark gothic techno and bring hope through positive music. The Magic of Christmas is a synth-pop delight that may be the thing since Amy Grant’s A Christmas Album.  

Matt Modrich  1/24/2004


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