I’ve never understood “Carol of the Bells.” In a seasonal playlist of holiday tunes that celebrate hugs, jokes, lights, charity and sparkling snow, the 1904 classical piece sounds like the anthem of a movie character’s late-night murder-plot drive. At best, it hearkens back to olden days, when everyone was more serious and coal was probably considered a gift of great efficiency. This is clearly eons before “All I Want For Christmas Is You” pushed its way to the front of the line in our hearts all aglow.
So thank goodness for Stephen Colbert and Henry Rollins taking that ominous gibberish and hucking it to the curb. Their version, performed last night on The Late Show, shows both dudes at their peak, with the host going for icy straight-faced intensity and the musician slaying it like he’s got the 10 ½.
I mean, if it’s not going to sound joyous, at least make it brutal.