My top 5 Christmas songs…which may or may not be about Christmas…

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Raise your hand if Christmas is your favourite time of the year! Oh my gosh! Mine too! High five!

Christmas is undeniably my favorite part of the year. It just brings out the collective feeling of joy and excitement, that’s not present at any other time of the year. Unless it’s your birthday, or if Wittner is having a shoe sale…well, that’s exciting to me…

Everyone just seems so intoxicated with happiness and there is that general feeling of joy. This to me, is what Christmas should be about!

I have to admit, I’m one of those Christmas freaks that gets excited waaaay before the accepted time frame. It usually starts around October, and I find myself dusting of my Christmas playlist, and just basking in the spirit of it all.

I love LOVE Christmas songs. Not so much Christmas Carols, although I do a pretty good rendition of The Little Drummer Boy, finger drums and all…

I heard somewhere that the the subject matter of 90% of songs is about love. And a large percentage of songs about love, focuses on unrequited love. Which makes sense I guess, considering that music is usually inspired from overflowing emotions. And if there is one thing that Glee has taught me, is that if you’re sad, happy, angry, itchy, hungry, need to go to the toilet, accidentally impregnate your best friend’s girlfriend, then you sing about it, with the aid of a band that just appears out of thin air. Or maybe your emotions are so powerful, that you magically conjured up a string quartet…

From that 90%, we have the Adeles, the Whitneys and other singers with heart wrenching ballads. You know, songs that manages to become anthems for wine soaked nights of pure loneliness, where you’re on Facebook, stalking your ex, wondering what went wrong. “Oh my god! Who is that skank with him in his profile picture! Wahhhhh! I should really call him…just to say hey…” Guuurl, put the phone down!

Surprisingly, out of that 90% of sad love songs (murdered by people like me during an epic karaoke sesh) exists a small portion of Christmas songs. Which you’d think would belong in the other 10% of songs which are not about the idea of melancholy love, seeing that Christmas is all about joy. It just occured to me today that many of the Christmas songs I hear on the radio, despite sounding jovial and riddled with friggin’ chimes and bells, deceptively, have really depressing connotations.

So I present to you, my top 5 Christmas songs that aren’t really about Christmas (if your definition of Christmas is about joy and happiness.)

5. St. Patricks Day – John Mayer


Now this song, really isn’t a Christmas song. It’s not even trying to be a Christmassy in any way whatsoever. I first heard this song, on a train on the way to my old job as cash register slave at Target. It was during the holiday season, and I was in a really awful place, career wise and in my personal life. I had a feeling that Christmas was going to suck this year. 


I was really into John Mayer at the time. Actually, that’s an understatement, I loved him! Loved him like no other. I loved the fact that his face was contorted and ugly when he performed live, and I loved that he didn’t care that people made fun of his soppy, and at times, cliche music. I loved him so much that I didn’t illegally download his new album…

I saw St. Patricks Day on the track listing and though, “this sounds stupid. It’s probably about Irish people and getting drunk. Skip!” And that’s what I did.Thankfully, the shuffle function was on, because two songs later, St. Patricks Day decided that it wanted to be heard. I’m so glad it did, because it was the first time I truly felt Christmas that year.

The song, as beautiful as it is, is so painfully sad. It’s a love song. Plain and simple. But the premise of this specific love story is that, it exists because both parties don’t want to be alone at Christmas time. Abuh!?

“No way November will see our goodbye.
When it comes to December, it’s obvious why.
No one wants to be alone at Christmas time”.

It just sort of hit me like a tonne of bricks. How can such a beautiful song, be an asshole’s means to reassure his partner that she is safe…for the mean time. As if to say, “No worries babe. I’m pretty unhappy with this relationship, and it’s probably going to end at some point but not before Christmas. So yeah, we’re golden as long as this sham continues. Can you make me a sandwich?”

Despite the awful meaning of the song, it’s one of my favourites. 1) because I love John Mayer and 2) because of the meaning. The idea that Christmas brings such hope, that even a dysfunctional couple will stay together, just so they have someone to share it with, is kind of…wonderful? Wow, there’s an insight into how delusional I can be! I don’t know, maybe that is a really depressing concept, but I think it’s kind of bittersweet.

4. Let It Snow – Boyz II Men and Babyface


Oh, this is a sexy one. And sexiness is not usually associated with Christmas. Except for that ‘I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus’ song, number 1 perverted Christmas song of all time… Imagine being an innocent 5 year old and seeing your mother kiss a man (who is actually your dad) in a Santa suit. And you’re 5, so of course you don’t understand that Santa is not real, and it’s actually your father in costume. Imagine the betrayal you would feel. And your mother! What the hell is she doing with Santa! End of childhood, bring on the years of therapy.

Anyway, Let is Snow is a great Christmas song. However, It’s not actually about Christmas. Sure they utter lines like:

“It’s another Christmas holiday.
It’s a joyous thing, let the angels sing”.

Then, as if by some libido fuelled song writing, these lines appear…

“Go outside, it’s raining sleet
When our bodies meet
I don’t care about the weather”

“Oh no he didn’t!” Damn straight you don’t care about the weather, you superfreak! The whole damn song is about fornicating! Which makes it hilarious! I remember thinking as a kid, “Bodies meet? Wait, whaaaaat? Meet for what!?”

3. Merry Christmas, Darling – The Carpenters

 

I don’t care what anyone says. I think The Carpenters is the best musical duo. Ever! They rose to fame in the middle of the Disco era, and managed to have numerous number 1 singles at the same time asThe Bee Gees during the fame of Saturday Night Fever! Come on! That is the tenacity for you! Seriously, every time I express how much I love The Carpenters in public, I’m met with comments like, “Really!? But they’re so old! How old are you again?” Why guys!? No judgement! Now if I had said, “I love Akon! Yes, ‘Smack That’ is truly a classic…”

I think Karen Carpenter has the most hauntingly beautiful voice. There is always a hint of sadness in all her songs. It’s somewhat confusing. “Is she really on top of the world? Why does she sound like she’s going to cry any minute?” Well it’s clear now that she was unhappy, having suffered from bulimia for years, and ultimately dying from this disease. She looked frail and so small at times, but her voice was still stellar.It’s not the most powerful, but every time I hear it, it sort of rips my heart to shreds.

Merry Christmas, Darling is by far the saddest Christmas song I have ever heard. But I love the crap out of it! I think (as wanky as this next statement is going to sound) the simplicity in the melody and the honesty in the lyrics is like, whoah! Never underestimate the power of a piano and a harp.
“Merry Christmas darling
We’re apart that’s true 
But I can dream and in my dreams 
I’m Christmas-ing with you”

Preach, girl. Preach. So incredibly sad and yet so incredibly exquisite. I heard this song at a very young age. I understood what the lyrics were, but didn’t quite understand the meaning. I certainly do now. In my imagination, I’m Christmas-ing with Ryan Gosling…

 

2. Last Christmas – Wham!

 


I love Wham! I know I’m throwing the word ‘love’ around like it means nothing, but I LOVE Wham! I love that there is an inclusion of an exclamation mark at the end of their name! I love that they are so 80’s! And I love that George Michael is in it. Now, George Michael, I REALLY love. LOVE! I remember during the whole controversy surrounding his rendezvous in public toilets, and the criticism that he got from it. People were all, “That’s so wrong!” I thought to myself, “You know what, NO! He can do whatever he wants because he was in Wham! Were you in Wham!? NO? I didn’t think so…”

Last Christmas, despite the crescendo of chimes and jingle bells, is not a Christmas song. In a nutshell, it’s a giant f**k you to a cheating wh**e-of-an-ex…

“Last Christmas
I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year
To save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special”

You bloody beauty! This brilliant song is like the anthem for anyone that has even been dumped or cheated on during Christmas. To give you a better picture of what this song means to me…picture a giant middle finger adorned with some tinsel and twinkling Christmas lights, waving back and forth in front of an ex’s face, as if to say, “Suck on that!”. Epic.

1. All I want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

It’s not surprising that the biggest and the most spoilt Diva in the world penned this song. Mariah has no need for material possessions. She wants a human. And that human is you.

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There’s just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is…
You”

Honestly, this isn’t my favourite Christmas song of all time. But it’s number one because of its sheer awesomeness. The sweet chiming echoes at the start of the song. The ringing of the sleigh bells. The slow build up of the drums. The backing vocals harmonising with Mariah’s husky sounds and kettle whistles. It’s just perfect!

Even the video clip is spectacular. Mariah Carey, hanging out with some reindeers in a skin tight spandex Christmas onesie, while frollicking on snow in the dead of winter. She is committed despite the threat of frost bites! This is why she is amazing and we are are not.

Furthermore, I can appreciate this song for its meaning, which is, you can have everything in the world, but owning a human being to be your Christmas slave is the ultimate present.

All jokes aside, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas full of joy and Christmas songs, be they happy, sad, sexy or slightly creepy.

Merry Christmas, ya’ll!

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