Few comical carol albums released on CD for sale this holiday seasonWherever you go (and whether you like it or not), it’s again that time of the year when you hear such holiday staples as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” But there used to be alternatives on the Seoul streets. They were still the same old carols ― but performed in remade versions by your favorite television comedians.
Hey, at least they were funny.
Comedian Kang Seong-beom used to rap “White Christmas,” using his trademark provincial dialect, and comedians from the comedy show “Gag Concert” used to chant “Feliz Navidad” in a loud, crazy version.
Notice the verbs are all in the past tense, though.
No longer are shops and street vendors blaring out comical versions of well-known carols this year. The reason is plain and simple.
There are no new Christmas carol releases this year starring such comedians.
Although it was once a trend every holiday season for popular comedians to release a “special carol album,” the rite is absent this year.
“I heard that the domestic [comic carol] makers did very badly saleswise last year,” said Nino Lee, a promotional manager for foreign songs with Sony BMG Music Entertainment Korea. “Why would they want to do that again?”
According to Kyobo bookstore’s music department, new Christmas carols sung by comedians are indeed rare on this year’s racks. There are only two new albums out.
One is “Cult Actually,” a compilation album by comedians from the agency Cult 2, who parodied the holiday film “Love Actually.” The second is “Mabbagi” ― a Christmas carol album made by the currently most talked-about comedian, Jung Jong-cheol.
“Sales have turned really bad,” said Kim Yeong-don, head of domestic music sales at Kyobo’s Hot Tracks. “Just several years ago, we used to have at least 10 new albums out by this time of the year.”
“Obviously the makers are no longer seeing the merit in releasing ‘comedian carols.’”
But comedians need not fear that this is because the comic carols are losing popularity. The fans still want them. They just don’t want to spend 12,000 won ($13) to buy a CD.
Naver Music, a Web site that provides a streaming music service, has no such problems with its online business.
“We have songs on our play list from previous years, when comedians used to sing a lot of carols,” said Kim Yeo-jeong, a promoter at NHN, the mother company of Naver. “The number of downloads [for comic carols] has jumped recently because it’s the Christmas season again.”
For fans who prefer to purchase their music offline, however, news of the reduced Christmas CD options is disappointing.
Lee Hye-ri, an office worker in Bundang, said she was surprised to find so few carol compilations in stores this year.
“I used to drop by the CD stores to flip through the new carol releases in stores,” Ms. Lee said. “It was fun singing along to the comical carols.”
by Lee Min-a