“A Tyrannosaurus For Christmas” by Max Hawthorne
Max Hawthorne has already established himself as a go-to author and all-around knowledgeable beacon in the paleo-fiction community, and in his new single “A Tyrannosaurus For Christmas,” he adds creator of children’s music to a growing list of talents few can compete with. Although geared towards a young audience specifically, “A Tyrannosaurus For Christmas” has a thoughtful pop structure that shows off what kind of a musician Hawthorne really is. He isn’t throwing anything together in this piece, but instead giving it the same level of dedication he would the literary medium he’s conquered so epically in the past few years.
The vocal here isn’t forced but instead layered into a jovial mix that puts instrumentation on the same level as the verses, which honestly helps for the song to sound a lot more full-bodied than it would have otherwise. There was a risk of this arrangement sounding a little overwhelming, given how fiercely the beat pushes through the melodic elements in the track, but the lead vocal breaks that up with a childlike innocence that only adds to the vibe of the lyrics rather than presenting something independent in the big picture. He might be an author primarily, but Max Hawthorne is as good at making detail-oriented songcraft as he is putting words on paper.
This groove follows the melody rather than the other way around, and I personally think this is one of the main reasons why “A Tyrannosaurus For Christmas” feels as catchy as it does. We’re not just listening to a smart beat and some cute lyrics, but instead a track that feels like it swings with us rather than just nudging us towards a rhythm. Immersive songwriting is something that takes years to master, but it would appear that Hawthorne has a good feel for it in this particular performance.
The spacing between the drums and the synthetic horn section is excellent but not over the top, which is important for us to appreciate just how much is going on behind the lead vocal. There are intricacies to this single that I don’t normally expect to hear out of a children’s song, or any other track to be fair, but they don’t translate as compounded or condensed for the purposes of making a smooth release here at all. This is a complete single, and not just in the realm of seasonal soundtracks, either.
I was not anticipating being as impressed with this effort as I am, and I think Max Hawthorne deserves a lot of credit for this seamless foray into music. He doesn’t give me the impression that he’s moonlighting here but instead putting as much of a personal investment into this work as he does his typical gig. “A Tyrannosaurus For Christmas” isn’t lacking in wit or whimsy, but don’t be deceived by its comical cosmetic appeal; beneath the surface lies a well-crafted piece of music by an artist who is probably going to see more demand for content like this in the near future.