Family Guy Goes Music Guy

Seth MacFarlane’s New Album is No Joke

By Lucia Rossi

Seth MacFarlane’s new album “Holiday For Swing!” swung in just in time for the holidays. If you love Michael Buble’s Christmas, then this is the perfect album to accompany it.

This is MacFarlane’s second album after his 2011 Grammy-nominated album “Music is Better Than Words.”

This album involved a 65 piece orchestra that included veteran producer Joel McNeely, and also featured Frank Sinatra’s bassist Chuck Berghoffer.

The Christmas album contains 13 covers with hits like, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with Sara Bareilles and “Little Jack Frost Get Lost,” with Norah Jones.

MacFarlane coincidentally recorded the holiday album from Christmas day through New Years Eve of last winter between Los Angeles and London. In an interview with Billboard, MacFarlane said he lucked out.

“Part of it was because we didn’t want to bump up against the production schedule for ‘Ted 2,’” he said. “Which is not an ideal time to be recording anything with 12 to 15 hour days shooting a movie.”

MacFarlane’s album is made up of orchestral jazz music that is classic and reminiscent to Frank Sinatra. There are no amazing high notes, just sweet romantic Christmas music. The sound is smooth and soft but contains a classic style and happy kick to it. This music was innocent and contains no comedy whatsoever.

Seth MacFarlane’s cover of classic Christmas songs were on point and did them musical justice. The jazz instruments gave the songs a surreal feeling that was both soothing and playful. This album would be great for holiday parties.

The Crosby song covers “A Marshmallow World” and “Mele Kalikimaka” were particularly memorable because they were so exceptionally catchy and humorous.

The covers of these classics were so good, that they are too good. Meaning that they are so good that they are almost unoriginal. I expected MacFarlane to put more of his own spin on the songs, but they were merely a reproduction of their origins.

His singing though is top notch without a doubt. He sings with such emotion but it’s that emotion that I’m not sure is trustworthy since it’s not who he shows himself to be usually. MacFarlane is very serious about his music, but because he is known as the “Family Guy” how sincere and genuine is it? This is what I asked myself as I listened to the album.

Although this album is very enjoyable and easy on the ears, it is very similar to Michael Buble’s album “Christmas” in the musical style and tone of voice. In comparison, Buble wins because you can hear the genuineness in his voice, his spirit, like when I listen to Michael Buble, I believe what he is saying because it sounds true and honest. However, that is just my opinion.

MacFarlane sounds like perhaps he is trying too hard to sound a certain way, it sounds a bit forced and unnatural. That doesn’t mean he isn’t extremely talented or that the album isn’t worth listening to, because he is and it is. I am just skeptical that it contains heart.

MacFarlane told Billboard that he believes fans see that against all the comedy is legitimate regard for the importance of music in Family Guy. After all, the show is the only one left on television that uses a live orchestra for every episode, using anywhere from 50-90 people depending on who is available. Clearly, he does sincerely care about music.

“Holiday For Swing!” released on September 30 through Republic Records and is available on CD, vinyl, and digital download.


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