A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So Long to Seasonal Songs

Now that the holiday season is over, the radio stations, the retail outlets, and any other entity that pipes in music puts their holiday music away for another year. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few cases, it shouldn’t happen this way. Members of my parents generation have often remarked that Christmas songs would be played beyond the New Year. Imagine, hearing “Jingle Bells” by the Barking Dog Chorale on January 6! Now, however, once Christmas Day is over, the radio stations resume their regular programming and mankind can resume their normal attitudes of greed, immorality, and war.

It shouldn’t be this way. I will agree that any song mentioning Christmas in their lyrics should be put away shortly after Christmas Day, but other seasonal songs can still be rotated on radio playlists. Songs like “Winter Wonderland”, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”, were made for the winter season, which has barely begun as the holidays are winding down. Granted, these songs get mixed in with the holiday music, and everyone is sick and tired of hearing them, particularly since we’ve been hearing them since early November, but they still have a place at this time of year.

We need to hear songs romanticizing the worst possible weather conditions mankind faces on an annual basis. Having said that, I realize we don’t have songs about tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons, but that is a goal for which the songwriters of the world can work. In the meantime, we should be grateful for tunes like “Let It Snow”, when snow is piling up on the highway and you suddenly develop a flat tire, facing the prospect of a cold adventure doing a usually simple task of car maintenance. Or hum “Winter Wonderland” as your feet give way on the icy sidewalk which you neglected to salt, and you suddenly find yourself in the air, sailing very awkwardly towards the ground and producing a bruised, possibly broken limb, when you land.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” is best reserved for those moments when you’re outside digging out from a blizzard, and your significant other taps on the window, and waves the nice warm mug of cocoa at you. These moments can be interpreted two ways. The first way could be the message, “Come on in and take a break. Here is some nice cocoa for you.” Or it could be interpreted to mean, “Ha, ha, you’re out there and I’m in here with this nice warm drink!” The second interpretation is particularly true if it is accompanied by sticking their tongue out or thumbing their nose at you.

I mentioned exceptions of putting away seasonal songs too soon. Although I could probably think of more songs which have been heard since mid-October which need to be thrown away with all due haste, I will limit my comments for now to these three.

Rudolph, The Red-Nose Reindeer

The Gene Autry version is wonderful, but Dean Martin’s version where he refers to Rudolph as “Rudy” is the type of poetic license I can do without. What were you thinking, Dino? Only the Chairman of the Board can get away with changing character names like that. Poor Rudolph can’t get any respect.

Jingle Bells

I have a theory that there are really only a dozen Christmas standards, and that radio stations play these same standards over and over to fill their holiday season schedule. We don’t notice this because any singer who has made it big in the last fifty years has made his or her own collection of Christmas standards. Obviously, radio stations are obligated to play each version of these standards until the holiday season is over. "Jingle Bells" is one such standard which is more winter than Christmas, but we’ll get bored with it by Christmas Day anyway. Here, the Natalie Cole version sticks out in my mind. She starts out by calling the roll of Santa’s reindeer. Natalie, you’re riding in a one horse open sleigh! Why drag Rudolph and the other reindeer into this? Poor Rudolph can’t get any respect.

Christmas Shoes

Oh great, just what I always wanted at Christmas time: a tearjerker! It’s been awhile since a song has been so universally popular and reviled at the same time as this one. Remember SSgt Barry Sadler’s "Ballad of the Green Berets"? As for this song's theme about a parent dying at Christmas time: been there, dealt with it, time to move on!

Well, the normal playlists have returned, and although the winter songs should still have their place for a few more months, they too have been shelved. Still I take comfort that as one gets older, the times of the year seem to go faster. The holiday songs will return very soon, which by my estimation should be the day after Labor Day.


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