Review Summary: Do we really need any more Christmas songs? At least the guitar tone sounds really nice.
The overt lengths I occasionally go to in looking at the full work of a property, or artist. Back when I was obsessed with Danganronpa, I ate all of it up, including the cash-grab anime adaptation and the not very good anime sequel and third-person shooter spin-off. But lo, I don't think I would have bought a Danganronpa Christmas album as my family has for Ren And Stimpy and South Park, and as I have apparently bought now for Megaphone. Released sometime in 2008 (I'm guessing sometime before Christmas), The Perfect Gift is a three track EP with a new Christmas song, an acoustic version of that song and a live version of We Were Young, recorded for the then unreleased Exit Silent Mode.
Not to redefine anyone's preconceptions of holiday music, but the original song on here sucks. It's about how Matt Bloodwell, who literally wrote this song for his girlfriend, doesn't need any presents for Christmas because his best present is right beside him every day of the year to start with. In a career built on pop and recycling old popular motifs, this has to be the hackiest thing Megaphone will ever do, and writing a cheapo Christmas song for your girlfriend sits just under making a full Christmas album out of contractual obligation in terms of poor reasons for this kind of thing to exist.
Which is a shame, as the rest of the band line-up isn't entirely without merit. The guitar has a nice filter on top of it, making all the sliding chords sound clean and hypnotic, and the bass pops here in a way it doesn't for the rest of their output. The addition of sleigh bells gives the game away and really highlights how flimsy the Christmas premise is. And if that didn't do it, how about the inclusion of a song whose first line is "September's always been my favorite time of year" ?
Besides their live EP, We Were Young's inclusion on The Perfect Gift is their only audio snapshot of the Megaphone live experience so far, a shame as they seem like they would be really tight live. However, this performance leaves a lot to be desired. The acoustics aren't terrible but are definitely cheap, almost bootleg quality. Matt's singing isn't great, and the addition of the third harmony towards the end sounds really abrasive. Not sure which member does it, actually, but that in itself is evident of how little practice he really has, I'm sure.
The only other song on offer is an acoustic version of The Perfect Gift, which just strips away the cool guitar tones and cheapens up the drums. The acoustic solo does sound nicer, admittedly, but again, when you go acoustic, you really have to rely on your songwriting to do all the work for you, and there is nothing artistically fulfilling about the songwriting of a cheap Christmas ballad.
If you need any more evidence of how slapdash this package is, the versions you can instantly access online seem to be glitched CD rips. We Were Young just cuts out thirty seconds early, and The Perfect Gift only goes past the first chorus. When this initially happened, I simply thought this was Spotify messing up and instantly tried again, even skipping further into the song and detecting no audio as the track "played". So I had to pay the three dollars for the full The Perfect Gift experience, which is the only reason this is a full review and not a quick sound off. Otherwise, it'd have been as much a waste of time as this EP.