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

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Tune Roundup of 2011

It is truly that wonderful time of the year when I get to make snarky comments on the holiday fare blasting from our radios. This is my annual state of the Christmas song message to the world. I do this as a public service, and it gives me an excuse to allow the cranky, middle-aged blogging fiend lurking inside me to rise up and say “Harrumph” or even “Bah humbug!”

One song which I must hear every day of the holiday season is John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”. It just brightens my day to hear Lennon leading a children’s chorus from the Harlem Community Choir singing to everlasting peace and an end to all conflicts. This was recorded in 1971, and wherever Lennon was at that time, then his wife Yoko Ono could not be far behind. The song is always attributed to John Lennon because there isn’t a DJ in the entire northern hemisphere that has the balls to say ”and Yoko Ono” whenever they play this song. Yet it is her female voice leading the children in the “war is over” chorus. It is probably the only time her voice is heard on the radio all year. I can’t help but chuckle at this little irony every Christmas season.

One song which I take great pains to avoid each year is "The Christmas Shoes", a sentimental piece of sap that just exudes grief and tragedy, you know, the very embodiment of the Christmas holidays themselves...not! Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the place that tragedy must occupy in our lives. But if I want to experience suicidal depression at the holidays, then I’ll go the route of the late Michael O’Donohue and shove 12 inch steel pins into my eyeballs. Fortunately, I treasure my vision, and long steel pins are so hard to come by.

Then there are some other songs which should be retired. For example, there’s the overplayed “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”. Oh, I’ll admit that it was a cute and novel idea the first year it was released, but unfortunately that year was roughly — if memory serves me correctly — 975 CE. Since then, the song has gotten more tired with the passing of each White Christmas that Irving Berlin imagined we should have. Okay, I may be off a few years when “Grandma” was first released, but I’m not off by much.

Then there are the 1,000 or so cover versions of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, and an equal number of cover versions of Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Let’s consider this last point carefully, people. Why would anyone want to cover anything recorded by Wham? WHY?

There are some noteworthy high-profile cover versions of holiday favorites that have become just as much tradition as the original. Madonna’s remake of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” immediately springs to mind. The Material Girl is the only one of the current crop of crooners who could pull it off, but even she can’t entice Santa without Kitt’s signature purr. Of course, any year now Madge’s version will be covered by Lady Gaga. I can hardly wait...not!

Then there are some holiday favorites that were done so long ago that they were recorded by entertainment icons from several generations past. Witness “Frosty the Snowman”, as sung by Jimmy Durante with an assist from Jackie Vernon. No, kids, I’m not taking the time to tell you who Jimmy Durante was; go ask your great grandparents! Or Google him instead!

Similarly, there is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" as sung by Thurl Ravenscroft. Ravenscroft’s greater claim to fame was Tony the Tiger and his catch phrase, “They’re great!”, which compelled anyone growing up in the 1960’s to drive their parents insane with pleas to buy Sugar Frosted Flakes. Who was Tony the Tiger, you might ask? Well, since I punted my exclamation about Jimmy Durante, I guess I could spare a few lines to explain that Tony the Tiger was a mythical, animated cartoon creature who devoured any and all small children who annoyed their middle-aged blogging elders with stupid questions like “Who the hell is Tony the Tiger?” Know what I mean? I think you do...

This explanation compels me to bring back my previous point. Wham...WHY?

So, in the true spirit of the holiday season, we should rejoice that someday war might be over; enjoy the quiet splendor of a snowy holiday; mourn for elderly ladies who meet their demise under the hooves of snorting beasts of the north, wallow in the sadness of a broken-hearted small child who believes his dying mother will want a new pair of shoes over, say a cure for whatever disease is killing her; wink and nudge at the thought of sex kittens trying their darnedest to seduce Santa Claus; cavort with cold weather friends that melt away before your eyes; and sneer with a crusty grump at the materialism of the world in general!

Christmas! Ha! Wham! Why?

(Thank you for reading. “Happy Christmas, Kyoko! Happy Christmas, Julian!”)


Anonymous Janey said...

DO NOT EVER write anything unkind about Wham again or I will shove a big chunk of coal in your...stocking.

President of the Wham Fan Club

December 14, 2011 at 6:43 PM  

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