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Friday, December 17, 2004

 

You Should Skip This Because You're Not Going to Give a Shit

I love Christmas. I love the Christmas season. I love the lights everywhere, I love buying people presents, I love the smell of pine in our apartment. I love the month that I'm allowed to play Christmas music. I love Christmas music.

I'm annoyed as hell with Christmas-themed commercials over the last couple of years. The Gap stopped using Christmas music years ago, apparently worried that they weren't appealing to the portion of their target demographic that doesn't swing that way. This year, they're using The Best of My Love. In what fucking way does this have to do with any holiday? It's annoying. Even Put a Little Love in Your Heart was closer than that, people.

Twice as annoying is the vomit-trigger trend I'm seeing so much on the New York airwaves where groups of carolers sing Christmas songs with the words changed. This is, I realize, not a new phenomenon. It's been around since the day after the first Christmas song, I'm sure. This year, though, has brought an astounding number of astoundingly bad entries in this genre. The New York Lottery has one featuring songs of greed and sloth. The guys behind Old Navy's ads should be taken quietly behind the woodshed and shot in the back of the head for those miserable spots with their off-key multi-culti sweater-clad chorus. It needs to stop.

It needs to stop because there's good stuff out there. Which brings me to the reason I titled this post like I did. Because there's no reason on earth why anyone should care what my favorite Christmas songs are. But that's not going to stop me from listing them.

I noticed something about my favorite Christmas songs when I was compiling this list in my head on the subway this morning. Most of them are really depressing. Why is that? I guess I'd liken it to my love of food that's a little bit salty and a little bit sweet, like Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby or Kettle Corn or chocolate-covered jerky. I just can't go all the way happy.

Oh, in case there's confusion, I'm listing them with the artists who sing them, because I haven't the first fucking clue who wrote most of them.
  1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald. I used to hate this song when I was a kid. It just always seemed kind of putrid. Then I heard Judy Garland sing it in Meet Me in Saint Louis and realized that, when the original lyrics were used, it was fantastically depressing! Ella's version tops my list.
  2. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues. There's just no way you can't love any Christmas song that has the words "scumbag" and "faggot" in it. This song manages to be so incredibly happy and miserable at the same time. It's lovely.
  3. Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. I have such fond memories of when The Waitresses performed "I Know What Boys Like" on Square Pegs back in the day. It's nice that this song about being fed up with your life and spending the holiday by yourself has (sort of) endured.
  4. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Not just depressing, but kind of ironic, because it's a song about peace for children sung by a guy who beat his kids.
  5. Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon. I don't know about you, but I can't hear this song without thinking about how it was Christmas time when Lennon was shot. Utterly depressing.
  6. Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas by Harvey Danger. I like this one because I lived in Seattle when I first heard it and I often had to work at one of various nursing homes on Christmas. Talk about depressing.
  7. Santa's Beard by They Might Be Giants. Santa is fucking your wife. De-pressing.
  8. Baby, It's Cold Outside by Ray Charles and Betty Carter. Not depressing. In fact, a song sung by two people who are about to have some noel nookie. Although one could say it's a song about date rape. And that's depressing.
  9. O, Holy Night by anyone. Not depressing, per se, but it's not fucking "Jingle Bells" in the happy-bouncy department.
  10. Mele Kelekimaka by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. Not a depressing song, but it's been one of my favorites since I was ten years old and the fact that that was twenty-four years ago is depressing. Oh, so very, very depressing.

Comments:
I'm okay with xmas music, but could only repeatedly listen to select songs from the Charlie Brown Xmas album. If you cared to know.
 
Good list, I didn't know Bing Crosby beat his kids (at least I hope its not David Bowie).
 
The David Bowie/ Bing Crosby choose is a good one. I recently saw their performance on TV. Crosby looked like a corpse and,no doubt, this very uptight guy had no idea that Bowie's typical custume was very different from the tuxedo he wore that night. Crosby died a year later. His almost cadaver performance has been morphed into a video with some other singer.
 
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