The Hawaiian Christmas song has always been a chance to imagine the smell of coconut oil and the breeze from a grove of palm trees during a cold, continental U.S. winter. Jake Owen's interpretation of 'Mele Kalikimaka' is more of a strict two-four march that John Philip Sousa would admire. It has all of the warmth of an out-of-tune horn section.

"Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say / On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day / That's the island greeting that we send to you / From the land where palm trees sway," Owen sings on this song from the 'A Very Country Christmas' album. Each word is pronounced with efficiency, which is fine if one is giving a rousing halftime speech to a losing football team. Owen needs more 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' and less 'Yee-Haw' in this interpretation.

"Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright / The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night / Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way / To say merry Christmas / A very Merry Christmas to you," he sings.

Owen's song is one of eight from Sony Music Nashville artists on this collection. It's available only at Target.

1.5 Stars

Listen to Jake Owen, 'Mele Kalikimaka'

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