Every year, as Christmas Creep approaches, we are surrounded by the telltale signs of the holiday season: candy canes, Santa, fir trees, shiny new endcaps at Target, and some asshat from Fox News trying to restart the whole “War on Christmas” bullshit.
Stop trying to make “War on Christmas” happen, Gretchen.
One of the most obvious signs is the arrival of Christmas music. Walk into any store, and you’ll be smacked in the ears with some choral version of O Tannenbaum, or even Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy Peanuts version. And KOST 103.5 here in LA goes the full Monty during December (really, after Thanksgiving) and plays Christmas music 24/7 until after the 25th. Now, my wife is enchanted with all of this music, and we are no stranger to KOST during this time. The rest of the year, we don’t even speak to KOST. We’re like the head cheerleader, and KOST is the dirtbag pot dealer she banged during Christmas break. We couldn’t stand to be apart from KOST during that time, but now that school has started again, we have to act like we don’t even know them.
And while I’m perfectly OK with most of the music of the season, there are occasional moments in these songs that confuse, irritate, or sadden me. Given that petty criticism flows through me like midichlorians, let’s take some time to discuss some of these moments. COME WITH ME!
Carol of the Bells
Now, I know I’m not helping this song’s case by giving you the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s version, but, even as an a capella arrangement, this is one of the most mentally aggravating songs in human existence, let alone Christmas. That “buh buhbuhbuh” over and over in 3/4 time drills into your soul in a way only duplicated by “Mambo #5.” It’s like John Carpenter wrote a Christmas theme. And, like John Carpenter’s music, it seems most fitting playing over a scene where someone is stabbing someone else.
And the versions with lyrics only make things worse. Often because the lead vocals are usually done by children, and we all know children singing blankly while accompanied by crazy killer music is in no way creepy and disturbing. Especially if they’re blond with dead, blue eyes.
Did Stephen King already write this? It seems like he did.
The Christmas Song
Now, this is a traditional song, and it’s a good standard. I have no quarrel with it. But the one thing that sticks out to me about this song is the line “A turkey and some mistletoe.” Now, these are not unknown to Christmas, of course. But that they’re put together in the same sentence seems weird. It’s not like you eat the mistletoe with the turkey. I think it’s poisonous, isn’t it?
It’s a weird combination, is all I’m saying. “You know what reminds me of Christmas? Tinsel and eggnog!” I know they’re part of the season; I just don’t expect them together in the same sentence.
Baby It’s Cold Outside
I understand that the whole “This is a song about date rape” thing is played out. So are seat belt awareness commercials. However, being played out doesn’t make seat belts any less necessary, and neither does it make this song any less rapey. Any song with the line “What’s in this drink?” is a disturbing song. Listen to it: that line is in there. And much like It’s Complicated, the song tries to play off the actions of a disturbed man with boundary issues as cute and charming.
SHE’S TRYING TO LEAVE, AND YOU’RE NOT LETTING HER!
It’s a song even Pepe LePew would be uncomfortable with. “Look, I like zee ladies, but even I have limits.”
Little Drummer Boy
I Tumblred about this before, but the one sticking point for me on this song is the whole “ox and lamb kept time” part. You’re a drummer, and keeping time is part of the job description. Maybe you shouldn’t be playing before the Lord and Saviour if you’re not down with the fundamentals. I’d like to ride a unicycle before Jesus, but I’m not at all talented with it, so I’m not going to.
But this is a minor quibble, and it’s really just an excuse to post the legendary Crosby/Bowie video.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
There are two ways to look at this song:
- The kid sees Mommy kissing Daddy, who is dressed as Santa Claus
- The kid is actually seeing Mommy kissing the real Santa Claus
Either way, this is a terrible thing for a kid to see. Mommy is cheating on Dad, chaste though it may be. And the worst thing is that no one believes him (at least in the Jackson 5 version), though that’s also burying the lede a little bit. He’s upset because no one thinks he saw Santa, when the real concern here is that Mommy just strayed from the marriage.
Wasn’t this how Eyes Wide Shut began? Seriously, I’m asking: I’ve blocked that movie from my mind.
I’m always skeevish about this song. It’s enough that it’s written from the point of view of a gold digger trying to horn in on Mrs Claus’ territory, but whenever it’s sung, it’s always sung in the breathiest, faux-sexy tone possible. It’s like Marilyn Monroe wishing Santa a thousand birthdays. And I don’t get excited about someone wanting to mack on Santa. Well, that depends, actually. Who’s singing it? Maybe one of those Glee girls? If it was Brittany or Santana, maybe. Maybe while they were holding hands by the
Anyhoo, my point is: Christmas is not a sexy time for me. It’s a festive, family time. Stop trying to make Christmas boners happen, Gretchen.
12 Days of Christmas
I know, I know; this was written at a different time when these gifts would make sense, I guess. But what am I going to do with all these people and birds? All of these leaping lords and milking maids and swimming swans and shit – how do I use them? I could really only see the use for the five gold rings, and even then, I’d just send them to Cash4Gold.
Plus, let’s do the math: I think on each day, the singer gets a new batch of everything. Day one: partridge. Day two: two turtle doves and another partridge? Is this how it works? Because we only have an apartment and cannot possibly house hundreds of people jumping around, dodging birds. WHO BOUGHT ME ALL THIS?!?
Of all these songs, this is the only one I really, truly, actively hate. My spine goes out when it comes on the radio, which is not good since I’m usually driving. Why does it piss me off? Everything. That beeping synth line, the simplistic lyrics, that chorus that repeats over and over again… GAH. And the worst is the “DING DONG DING DONG” part. I think this is some new version of The Happening, except instead of plant toxins, it’s this song driving people to stab themselves in the throat. Me first.
I know Paul McCartney is a Beatle and a legend and so on, but legends can make mistakes. Even Jimmy Page did a P. Diddy song. Remember that.
Wait, why is this on the list? This should be on the “Greatest Christmas Songs Ever” list. Never dispute the power of Wham!
Comments? Thoughts? Did I ruin your childhood now? Please let me know.