Or silent day? Or anytime, for that matter. Tis the season of Christmas at the store. I am grateful that we are not quite at 24/7 Christmas music. (We also heard Green Day, The Mamas and the Papas, and Bruno Mars once today.) However, we are close enough to bring out my inner Grinch.
I did not always dislike Christmas music. In fact, as a regular church-goer, I still love the Christmas carols we sing there (very traditional). I watched all the cartoons when I was little and still know the words to “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Island of Unwanted Toys.” I love listening to carolers and choirs singing live.
But store music is to carols as Velveeta is to fine Cheddar from Somerset – a reminder that as things become more popular, the more likely they are to move toward the lowest common denominator (for the non-math people, this is not a good thing outside of math). Not to say that all was perfect in the past. My brother needed to listen to music when he was little to get to sleep. My parents had a record of Fred Waring’s orchestra playing Christmas songs. Eartha Kitt did a version of “Jingle Bells” that still makes me feel creepy. But nothing really gets under my skin that I only have to hear a few times each year.
I no longer care that Michael Jackson saw his mommy kissing Santa Claus. Or that his brothers don’t believe him. Or that he’s going to tell his daddy. If he’d stayed in bed where he’d belonged, I wouldn’t have to listen to it three or four times each eight-hour shift. I don’t even want to think about the John Mellencamp version. The man had to be close to forty when he recorded it. That is just disturbing.
Then there’s the song that starts, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day, you gave it away.” I don’t know what it’s called or who sings it. (There are both male and female versions.) Why did he give her his heart? It sounds like one of those Mayan religious rituals or that lady on “Once Upon a Time” who has an unfortunate tendency to reach into people’s chests and grab the heart. Who would she give it to? No one is going to want a heart that she apparently abused. Why is he still talking to her a year later?
Brenda Lee did a fine version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and after all these years, her version is still popular and recognizable. Why would anyone cover that song in the same version? (Not sure, but that might be Miley Cyrus.) Whoever it is, sounds enough like Brenda to remind me of the original but then misses a few of the later notes. Note to singers: If you’re going to cover a standard, make it your own.
If Grandma was drunk enough to get run over by a reindeer, why didn’t someone walk her home? For that matter, what’s wrong with her son walking her home anyway? It’s dark. It’s a holiday. It seems like the least he could do.
I think the kid who wants her two front teeth for Christmas needs them because someone knocked her over running away from her horrible singing. I have only heard the song once in recent memory, but it continues to set my teeth on edge when I think about it. Don’t think about it, you say? Easier said than done when you listen to robo-music all day.
Finally, will someone please destroy all the copies of “Santa Baby” in existence? (Maybe I just don’t like Eartha Kitt Christmas music.) Yes, I know it was written by a woman (one of the few successful Christmas songs by a woman). And I know it’s supposed to be a joke. But the idea of seeing Santa in any sort of sexual role just gives the kid in me nightmares. And it should also come as no surprise that the Material Girl also had a hit with it.
I had a CD with baroque harpsichord Christmas music. I still think my family destroyed it. But if I can find it, I’m going to put it on the sound system and get my revenge.