Seth Macfarlane ↳ Graham Norton Show 5.30.14 (x)
As requested, another Seth collage.
Holiday For Swing, Seth MacFarlane’s Christmas-themed follow-up to 2011’s Grammy-nominated Music Is Better Than Words (due this fall via Republic Records), finds him tapping a 65-piece orchestra and veteran arranger-producer Joel McNeely to perform a handful of well-known (“Let It Snow,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside”) and semi-obscure yuletide chestnuts (Frank Sinatra’s “Christmas Dreaming,” Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney’s “Snow.”) MacFarlane called Billboard from the Boston set of Ted 2 to reflect on the album, which was recorded from Christmas Day through New Year’s Eve last winter between Los Angeles and London.
Do you have any favorite holiday albums that inspired the sound?
I’m not frankly a huge conossieur of holiday music, but I love orchestral jazz. I love that era of high orchestral musicality that bears a lot of similarities to holiday music in a lot of ways. As far as holiday records, gosh I don’t know — the Home Alone soundtrack?
"Baby It’s Cold Outside," a duet with Sara Bareilles, is one of the more recognizable songs on the record — but also one of the more controversial since its Frank Loesser heyday. What made you want to tackle it?
That’s a song that surprisingly has somehow made the leap into the modern era without being called out for what it is. The girl is clearly saying no. But again, it’s just a joy to sing against orchestration that’s that good — you really gotta be shitty to screw it up I guess.
How do you rationalize your faction of fans who may continue to expect comedy from your musical projects?
Surprisingly, a good chunk of Family Guy fans recognizes why we do this — they see that against all the comedy is a legitimate regard tor the importance of music. It’s virtually the only show left on TV that uses a live orchestra for every episode. We use anywhere from 50 to 90 people, depending on how many players are available.
An edited version of this story originally appeared in the Aug. 30 issue of Billboard.
"Hi, I’m Seth MacFarlane"