Now that I’ve grabbed your attention with my dismal attempt at making a pun on one of the most annoying Christmas songs to have ever existed (for a good cause, I remind myself), let’s get started, shall we?
Christmas music – yay or nay? Admittedly, when you’re still reeling from the hangover of yet another Halloween party, anything holiday related is downright appalling and reminds you of all the cheery people you wish to get rid of, whilst mentally preparing for the drudgery of your coursework due in a week’s time. However, as we near December, the smell of mulled wine and sights of the ugliest jumpers in Britain seem to lend us a warm glow like no other. The inability to walk down the streets without a faint fa la la la la ringing in your ears, however, is just unacceptable.
I’ll begin by getting this out of the way – I am no Grinch. I love festivities, I love how the house across the street has put up a very sparkly reindeer on their wall, I love the big tree in Old Market Square, I love the smell of mulled wine. And yet, if you play It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year anywhere near me, I’ll probably throw a hissy fit, because I have heard it 2376 times today. Even the music charts seem to go a bit batty around this time of the year.
Most artists seem to feel obliged to release a holiday album with a load of Christmassy songs that nobody had ever asked for or at the very least, sing a Christmas song and release it as a single. Take, for instance, Sam Smith and his rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It is an assault inflicted on people’s auditory senses, an absolute atrocity committed in the name of music and is particularly painful to fans of Sinatra’s rendition. The song itself is a tad bit too optimistic – yes, don’t we all wish the new year would whisk all our troubles away to nothingness – but I suppose that was the entire point, to douse you with holiday cheer.
“The key to enjoying Christmas music is to find the right kind of Christmas music.”
A lot of my thoughts regarding unsolicited Christmas music are primarily because I would rather not be incessantly reminded of good times spent with my parents during the festivities every time I turn on the telly or the radio or even walk through the local supermarket. I am irritated by the unnecessary doses of musical holiday cheer being dumped on me months before the holidays start and the songs themselves grate on my nerves – the instrumentals are often over-produced synth sounds that grate on my nerves, the vocals particularly smug. When it’s early November and I’m dreading the workload that is piling up, I do not wish to be reminded at every corner of the road how I am supposed to be happy and grateful for my wonderful life – student debts and unemployment notwithstanding. Caring for such trivial matters amid the Yuletide spirit is terrible of me, but I can’t help it.
The key to enjoying Christmas music is to find the right kind of Christmas music. When I am dealing with the holiday blues by being glum myself, I turn to The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York or John Prine’s Christmas in Prison. These songs bring out the darker elements of Christmas celebrations, focussing on missing loved ones and bringing light to the issues of financial instability and inequality that become even more glaringly obvious during the seasonal cheer. If I do wish to cheer myself up, I listen to Monty Python’s Christmas in Heaven. Wittily spoofing the silliness of the holiday season in our modern, consumerist world, it is quite an enjoyable little song.
Love Christmas music or hate it, the world around you will not let you ignore it – that’s a certainty. It’s omnipresent, it often starts in September (horrified shudder) and it will bully you into being cheerful, often ending up having the absolute opposite effect.
God bless ye merry folks of Nottingham, here’s to hoping that all the Christmas music hasn’t already done your head in – there’s still weeks to go before Christmas Day.
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