I mean, really? Who listens to the type of music that inundates the airwaves around Yuletide? Who “fa la la la las” on months other than December? What gives artists the sudden excuse to start using excessive amounts of sleigh bells and children’s choirs? I must get to the bottom of this.
In the mean time, this is an open letter to whomever listens to, writes, or plays Christmas music. At all. I am going to lay down some rules for good Christmas music.
1. The main instrument should not be a sleigh bell. In fact, sleigh bells are not even instruments. If you want to give one a jolly jingle every now and then, that’s fine, but if your piece requires a dedicated percussionist just to jangle some holiday cheer, please don’t. (On a related note, children’s choirs should be used sparingly and preferably for epic or solemn occasions, not in every Christmastime song that is otherwise lacking. Example.)
2. Christmas music should reflect the style of the artist performing. House of Heroes’ (a usually upbeat alternative rock band) cover of “Silent Night” is a perfect example of a band failing in this regard. I like most of HoH’s music, but their version of Silent Night is just the vocalist and guitar. Very sleep inducing.
3. This, being not always the fault of the artist, is yet a major problem with Christmas music. RADIO STATIONS SHOULD PLAY ONE SONG NO MORE THAN TWICE PER DAY. I despise the song “Christmas Shoes.” It’s not all that terrible of a song, but I really would not have listened to it more than once. If I were to play the same radio station all day, I’m sure I would hear far too many repeats.
4. Music written to be “cutesy,” “fun,” or “strange” should not be played all the time on mainstream radio. That defeats the purposes of the songs. A great example of this would be “Santa Baby” (unless, of course, that song was intended to be played over and over, in which case I think that anyone who covers it should be forced to take remedial music lessons and have their music-making licenses revoked).
5. If music has been used as a theme in a children’s cartoon (with the exception of instrumentals), uses any made up words, or cannot be reasonably enjoyed by anyone sane who listens to it, it should not be allowed to continue.
In short, good Christmas music should be enjoyable, contain reasonable lyrics, and not be mainly intended for audiences under the mental age of five. Is that too much to ask?
I leave you with some good Christmas music:
Much to the disdain of myself and (most undoubtedly) others like me, it is that horrible and most unfortunate season again. That terrible time that so rudely takes up far too much of an otherwise impeccable and pristine blank space on the calendar of life. Indeed, my friends, it is with tremulous voice and unsteady hand that I attempt to put down on paper a most uncouth and ghastly pronouncement.
But come! What else was there to be done? This question has racked my mind and being until the very fabric of my meager existence began to unravel and come to danger of bursting aflame! If indeed, in the course of reading this atrocious perambulate, you reach an answer or even come to terms with this odious and most discordant conundrum, do please come forth and state your most sought after and treasured conquest.
To continue… of course! The continuation of any locomotive having once been dissuaded from its set path is enough to grant even the least sentimental of skeptics a glance at the meaning of joy. So, thenceforth, onward with the train of thought that is mine. Alas, indeed; must it finally come to this? Must I name the source of this cacophonous tragedy that is imposing its bleak towers upon the walls of our stalwart defenses.
The holidays are upon us. The modulations are creeping in through the walls. The terrible fate that visits oh-so-predictably is back once again. Say hello to your doom and goodbye to your friends. The terrors are upon us and they have already come. Beware. Holiday cheers? No, I’m afraid it cannot be so. Holiday tears. My friends, the Christmas music is here.
Disclaimer: Yes I do usually dislike Christmas music. No, I don’t hate all Christmas music. Exhibit A: Relient k’s Christmas album. No, I don’t usually talk like this. Yes, I like pop tarts. No, I’m not sure why the fabric of my existence is flammable. No, I didn’t buy the extended warranty. Yes, I like small kittens and bleu cheese–separately and in different ways. No, I’ve never seen Gone With the Wind. My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. Are you still reading this? You should stop and have an Oreo. Did you know I can read your mind? You’re thinking about cookies. Anyway, have a nice life.
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer!… (Now it’s stuck in your head.)