Beyond the Season | EW.com

Music

Beyond the Season Who's that hiding behind Garth Brooks' beard on the cover of Beyond the Season? Is it Billy Joel, the likely inspiration for Brooks'...Beyond the SeasonCountry Who's that hiding behind Garth Brooks' beard on the cover of Beyond the Season? Is it Billy Joel, the likely inspiration for Brooks'...1992-10-02
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Beyond the Season

Genre: Country; Lead Performer: Garth Brooks

Who’s that hiding behind Garth Brooks’ beard on the cover of Beyond the Season? Is it Billy Joel, the likely inspiration for Brooks’ kitschy lounge-act mutilation of ”Go Tell It on the Mountain”? Is it George Strait, who might have come up with Brooks’ jazz-swing version of ”White Christmas” ? Or is it Buck Owens, whose distinctive phrasing and vocal inflections Brooks copies down to the last nuance on ”Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy”? This may be a Christmas album, but the man behind the beard isn’t old Saint Nick, because Santa always delivers.

For the most part, Brooks’ album is the equivalent of last-minute shopping, gifts hastily selected without much thought toward originality or pleasing the recipient, only of fulfilling the obligation. Instead of writing a batch of somgs, Brooks ties to put a new gleam on too many old chestnuts. Sometimes the renditions work — Brooks sings like a choirboy on Stephanie Davis’ magnificent ”The Gift,” a touching and finely written new song about a Mexican orphan who sacrifices her most precious posession — but mostly they don’t. Applying hillbilly vocal leaps to traditional carols is a lot like putting fringe on a wedding dress. Christmas albums are often lightweight offerings, but when the performer is the best-selling pop artist of the last two seasons, you expect a little bigger box under the tree. C+