Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Music

I am not a big fan of Christmas music. I don't like that, after Thanksgiving, I can't go anywhere without hearing it constantly. There are several reasons for this.

1. It is obnoxious to hear the same songs over and over again. By the time the actual holiday comes around, I don't want to listen to any of the festive melodies that are supposed to fill me with unbridled holiday joy.
2. It's totally exclusionary to anyone who isn't a Christian. I was raised Christian, but now I identify as more of an agnostic. So I only feel a fraction of the annoyance that people of other religions and/or other atheiests/agnostics/whatever feel when they hear that shit piping through every speaker everywhere. It's not necessarily offensive, especially the music itself, but it is a little dumb.*

But besides that, a lot of Christmas music is just kind of ... terrible!

Take Jingle Bell Rock, for instance. Check out these nonsensical lyrics: "Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock. Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring. Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun. Now the jingle hop has begun."

Excuse me? Are there people out there who love nothing more than to DANCE to the sound of JINGLE BELLS?

Oh, and then there's this gem...

Don't even get me STARTED on "The Christmas Shoes." I hate this fucking song more than I hate almost any other song. I hate this fucking song more than I hate a lot of things, actually. I remember when it came out, and people LOVED it! Something about poverty and fatally ill mothers really brings out the Christmas spirit in some folks, I guess.

I was singing the chorus of this song to a couple friends who'd never heard it before (lucky bitches) the other day. They were laughing the whole way, and then - wait for it - there's that line at the end: "I want her to look beautiful if Momma meets Jesus tonight."

WHAT?! There's that Jesus, sneakin' in! I guess it would be quite a birthday present for him to see Momma in her snazzy new shoes.

The types of Christmas songs I like the most are old religious hymns, which I know seems weird considering what I said earlier about not being a Christian anymore and shit. It's not that I want these hymns blasting at Target. I wish there was no holiday music played at Target ever (unless it's "Monster Mash"). Hymns are just better written, and they actually make sense, considering that Christmas is actually a religious holiday.

Secular Christmas songs that are mainly about shopping and having fun kind of suck. They usually feature some kind of wild sax solo (also a personal annoyance, but I'll stop complaining). Sometimes they're just a regular song that uses the word "Christmas" and therefore guarantees the artist extra royalties every December (I'm looking at you, Mariah Carey).

There are a few exceptions to my secular Christmas song hatred, and all of those exceptions were written by former Beatles.

What's worse than a modern secular Christmas song?

A modern Christian Christmas song!

Despite my love for Clay Aiken, I HATE THIS SONG!!!! (He didn't write it at least, so he's still golden in my book).

I think this song is only thought of as Christmas-appropriate because it refers to Jesus as a baby. Other than that it's basically just "JESUS IS SO AWESOME!!!!" over and over again. I hate this song's lyrics, although I have to admit it is pretty. Maybe that's just because I'm listening to Clay Aiken sing it right now.

So, without further ado, I'm going to talk about some Christmas songs I actually DO like!

"O Holy Night"

Obviously this song is just fucking beautiful. And epic. But I love it because of the memories attached. See, when I was a kid, there was this guy who sang this song at Christmas Eve church every year. He would stand in the choir loft and just sing it a capella, and man was that lovely. It was not unlike this video; this particular church member had an operatic style similar to Josh Groban.

I also love "Silent Night," as many people do. It's the song that we would sing as we lit our candles and stood there in the darkness, faces aglow by the light of the tiny flames. Again, church memories. I grew up Methodist; we like to sing. (Christmas Eve is about the only time when I really enjoy church. Something about all that ritual, and remembering my childhood.)

Bright Eyes has a whole album of Christmas songs (appropriately called A Christmas Album, released 2002) and I really enjoy it. Want to combine your love for sadsack indie rockers with holiday spirit? This album is a must-listen!

And, finally...

I played clarinet in high school, and every year at our Christmas concert, our Wind Ensemble would don Santa hats and bust this out as our last number. This is the same arrangement we played. Good times!

So there you have it. Christmas music sucks! Happy winter solstice everyone! God bless us, every one!

*Nothing's more annoying than the privileged complaining about discrimination towards whatever privileged group they may be a member of. See: white people calling tanning taxes racist, and American Christians getting all pissy when someone suggests that it might be better to put the label 'holiday' on something than 'Christmas.' /endrant

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