Remix albums are often pretty disappointing, since too many remixers merely tear down songs and rebuild them into something unrecognizable, instead of highlighting and enhancing their best unexplored elements. But the holiday curio Merry Mixmas demonstrates the opposite problem. Few of its Christmas-classic remixes take any chances at all, probably because the record is targeted toward moderately hep nostalgia freaks rather than hardcore beat-heads. So songs like Bing Crosby's "Winter Wonderland" and Lou Rawls' "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" sound pretty much as they always did, but with the addition of swinging electronic beats. It's like Stars On 45: Yule Edition.
Then again, this isn't really a big problem, because the songs being remixed are strong enough to survive being rendered slightly spacey. Much of the set list has been swiped from Capitol's charming 1996 holiday compilation Christmas Cocktails, which came out during the height of the Swingers craze, and brought such oddities as Billy May's "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo" and Kay Starr's "(Everybody's Waiting For) The Man With The Bag" back into the hipster consciousness. Both those cuts get snazzy mixes here, ideally suited to dancing around the kitchen during cookie-making time. But the tantalizing highlight of Merry Mixmas is Ursula 1000's take on Julie London's "I'd Like You For Christmas," which finds the rhythm of London's voice and builds around it, with guitar stings, organ bursts, and a steady breakbeat accenting the song's essential seductiveness. That kind of transformation—making a sweet holiday love song into a mating call—qualifies as a Christmas miracle.