While not your regular piece of Christmas ear candy, the soundtrack to “The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special” is flavorful nonetheless. Serving mostly as a comedic supplement for the recent film, and even as a tearjerker at some points, the album prioritizes camp and wit over vocal technique, boosting the plot of its film and, as a result, the morales of young queer listeners.
Even though character work defines the soundtrack album’s excellence more than musicality, the gamut of genres parodied by songwriters Jinkx Monsoon, BenDeLaCreme and their producers is objectively impressive. From pop to rock to Broadway-style belting, the two Christmas queens utilize nearly every genre in order to execute a 25-minute audio spectacular.
Consisting of all original music done by Jinkx, DeLa and their collaborators Major Scales and music producer Keith Harrison, The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special album strays far from the pair’s usual parody work. The one exception is their twist on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which parodies the Virgin Mary with such satirical conviction about the ridiculosity of Jesus’ birth that the original winter classic might as well have been penned originally by the two queens themselves.
Although the focal points of the album are not related to vocal stylings, Monsoon’s high notes and vocal delivery is memorable overall. Her wide range and hard-hitting belts complement her sulking persona, providing an appreciated contrast to DeLa’s whimsically lighter tone. We hear nuances to her voice throughout the soundtrack. In “That Kind of Holiday Show,” she gives us theatrical vibrato and mocking nasal tones, while in “No One Played Santa For Me,” we hear her deep tone and jazzy tendencies shine through.
If the soundtrack were to have a single released, it would surely be the sultry “Santa Fa-La-La.” Reminiscent of ’90s rhythm and blues, the song boasts both witty lyricism and a catchy hook. DeLa keeps the song light with her cheery tone, occasionally breaking into spoken dialogue, posing suggestive questions before answering them herself with quick one-liners. At one point she asks, “Is that a candy cane in your pocket?/ That’s just what I wanted,” and at another, “Is the chimney too tight?/ You can use the backdoor.” While the song’s lyrics are joking, the overall tone of the song still manages to be seriously groovy.
Another standout is Jinkx’s passionate solo, “Passive Aggressive Christmas.” Her voice blends beautifully with the rock-influenced instrumentals in this grunge ballad. Jinkx’s lyrics highlighting the chaos of family gatherings make “Passive Aggressive Christmas” painfully poignant. Jinkx capitalizes on her relatability to young queer people by emphasizing the discomfort she feels during the holidays as her family serves her a “cold and icy glare” and “pick apart the clothes” she wears in order to pluck at the heartstrings of listeners. The difficult themes of the song come unexpectedly in the trajectory of the album but make for a welcome break from the rest of the soundtrack’s unyielding hilarity.
The most consistent aspect of the “Holiday Special” soundtrack album is its teasing of religion through joyfully over-the-top harmonies, which sound as if they were manifested naturally from Jinkx and DeLa’s tangible chemistry. “Everyone is Traumatized by Christmas” exemplifies this the most; DeLa croons about how Christmas is “almost no one’s favorite time of year” while Jinkx insults “Jesus songs” and complains about how “the Christians have the world on lock, and now they want a present.” Later, the ranting lyrics about their “overbearing family” and “working at the mall” on Christmas make Jinkx and DeLa sound more like warbling, relatable therapists than singers — but in the best way possible.
For the most part, the soundtrack to “The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special” succeeds in bringing light to a subject that remains dark for many queer people, as well as all others who often feel disappointment and isolation come Christmastime.
Contact Nurcan Sumbul at [email protected].