“I’m a Jew, a lonely Jew, on Christmas.” – Kyle Braflovsky, South Park
Like poor little Kyle, Christmas can be a very isolating time for us Jews. No Christmas trees, no Santa Claus and no reindeer games. And certainly no escape from all this Christmassy chazerai. Most blatant, is the inundation of Christmas music everywhere you go.
Sure, many of these songs are quite enjoyable and do make everything cheerful and – God, forgive me for using this term – merry. Who can resist Bruce Springsteen’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”? And whenever I hear Angela Lansbury throating her way through “We Need a Little Christmas,” I’m more than tempted to climb up into my non-existent attic and take out my non-existent Christmas decorations. And, with some shame, I’ll admit to my most secret guilty pleasure – right now, my car CD player is currently holding a copy of John Denver and The Muppets – A Christmas Together.
But for every beloved classic, we have to hear a lot of crap. Celine Dion’s version of “Blue Christmas” is more than enough to get me to throw up my Christmas Eve egg foo young. And how could Paul McCartney, composer of some of the best songs in the world, create “Wonderful Christmastime.” And I’m not sure who this Michael Bublé character is, but if he’s trying to be Frank Sinatra, he’s doing a pretty shitty job.
Anyway, in between the beloved classics and holiday horrors, there are a bunch of songs that have become standards for the season and included on every Christmas CD put out by everyone from those American Idol rejects or to aging singers looking for a quick buck. While these songs may be classics, have you ever paid attention to the lyrics of some of them? They’re utter crap! I’m not sure if it’s the finicky Jew in me, or the professional writer in me, but each of the below songs has lyrics that really piss me off:
1) Perhaps the worst offender is “No Place Like Home for the Holidays.” Sure, it’s upbeat and has a good message, mainly that there is no place like home for the holidays. But the only example used to illustrate that longing to go home is this:
“I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was heading for/ Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie.”
Ummm. So of all the people who travel home for the holidays, we are only told of some guy who’s going home to make love to a pie? Since this line is used three times, and doesn’t rhyme with any other lines, I don’t understand why the songwriter couldn’t have added some more examples. Oh wait, actually, there is another example:
“In Pennslyvania folks are heading down to Dixie’s southern shore.”
This damn song makes it seem as though the Southeast and Pennsylvania are the only places in the world that celebrate the holidays. Sorry, rednecks and Amish people, the holidays aren’t just about you.
2) “Let it Snow”
While this song is loved by mostly everyone, I HATE IT. Why? Because of its inconsistent rhyme scheme. Most of the song has the same meter and AABB rhyme scheme:
Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow let it snow.
However, a little further into the song, without any type of warning, the rhyme scheme changes to ABAB. And each and every time I hear this song, I’m immediately thrown off and confused. How could anyone not be, when you hear perfect rhyming couplets, and then the following:
When we finally say goodnight,
How I’ll hate going out in the storm.
Uh… see what I mean? Doesn’t that just completely make the whole thing off balance? Sure, it does try to right itself with the next two lines, but that doesn’t fix the fact that your brain wants a word that rhymes with night, and you get storm instead.
3) “Here Comes Santa Claus”
Sorry to destroy another beloved holiday classic, but what the hell is up with this song?
Here Comes Santa Claus/ Here Comes Santa Claus/ Right down Santa Claus Lane
Couldn’t the author have been a little more creative? Why would Santa Claus by traveling down a street that bears his name? Why not call it Candy Cane Lane or something like that?
4) “Jingle Bell Rock”
Just like the previous entry, this song has a serious lack of creativity. Did you ever notice how the word “jingle” is used to describe pretty much every person, place, and thing referenced in the song, just like in the smurfin’ Smurf universe. For example, we have: jingle bells, jingle hop, jingle bell square, jingle horse, jingling feet. Well I’m jinglin’ tired of all this jingly crap.
While the holiday season does make everything happier, my joy can’t hold up whenever I hear any of these songs. Given my significant leverage with the music industry, I ask all of you record producers, managers, and singers (especially you Jewish ones – you should know better!) to avoid recording these dumb songs.
Merry Christmas, everyone!