OPINION COLUMNS

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas everywhere I go

By Joy Carrico | Published Saturday, November 19, 2016
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Get ready. It’s almost time for the invasion of bad music into our lives.

Every year, right after Thanksgiving, it begins. Everywhere I go, I will be confronted with the same old Christmas carols and/or songs. And, through some obscure law of physics, the songs I hate will be played five times more often than songs I like.

Joy Carrico

Joy Carrico

Before I get into the Christmas songs I despise, I have to address the Christmas song elephant in the room.

I don’t hate “Joy to the World.” It’s quite nice, actually, but that particular Christmas carol has been following me around my whole life.

I am referred to as “Joy to the World” so frequently that I don’t really even notice anymore. I just automatically answer to it. That song is often sung to me in the off-season. I probably hear at least the first lines of it more than anyone else I know.

As a young child, the song really confused me. I had a hard time understanding when people were using the word joy rather than referencing me by name. When I sang that song, I would sing, with no intention of being funny, “Me to the world.” And I was very confused as to why people wanted to send me to the world. I was already in the world, as far as I knew. I thought they knew something I didn’t know.

Yes, “Joy to the World” caused a lot of childhood bewilderment. It’s taken me years to warm up to the song and judge it on its merits, and, it turns out, it’s a fine carol. We just have a history that makes my relationship with it complicated.

So, on to those Christmas ditties that are worthy of repugnance.

The first song on the most hated Christmas songs list is there primarily because it doesn’t say anything.

Let us consider Paul McCartney’s gem “Wonderful Christmastime.” “The moon is right. The spirits up. We’re here tonight. And that’s enough. Simply having a wonderful Christmastime.” Repeat repeat repeat.

It doesn’t get better. It also has the added quality of getting stuck in my head whenever I hear it.

I think Paul must have been hard up for cash so he threw this song together without much thought. It goes on far too long, making random Christmas-themed statements followed by the declaration of a wonderful Christmastime being had. Definitely No. 1 on my yuck list.

Almost equal to my hatred for that song is “So This is Christmas” by Paul’s buddy John Lennon.

It begins with “So this is Christmas. And what have you done. Another year over. A new one just begun.” Lennon, apparently having not much to say on the subject of Christmas, uses the opportunity to ask the listener to account for last year’s activities.

That’s rather rude, I think. What business is it of his what I’ve done with my year? I’ve got enough on my plate without having to produce evidence to a Beatle of my worthiness to have existed over the past 12 months. Back off, you hippie. I don’t owe you anything.

The song spends several stanzas wishing everyone well and moves on to the hope that next year is good, “without any fear.” Then the song turns political.

In this toe-tapping holiday favorite, Lennon makes such statements as “the world is so wrong” and “let’s stop all the fight.” It then ends with a repeated refrain of: “War is over, if you want it. War is over now.”

What does any of this have to do with Christmas? Nothing. Lennon is using the guise of a holiday song to put forth his agenda. It was a pretty shrewd move on his part. Because it’s a “Christmas song,” we are bombarded with Lennon’s propaganda over and over for one month out of the year. You’d think war would be over by now. I guess we don’t want it.

Next on my list of worst Christmas songs is “Last Christmas” by Wham. Or is it Wham!? “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.”

Huh? She wasn’t special? Then why did you give her your heart? Listening carefully to the lyrics, I find it full of words about how much this person has been hurt by his ex, that he wants to hurt her in return, and that he’s simultaneously over her and equally willing to sign up for more pain.

In essence, it is a bitter rant against an ex by a rejected lover. Nothing says “Merry Christmas!” like the passive-aggressive posturing of unrequited love.

I don’t actually hate hearing “Santa Baby” the four thousand times I hear it every December, but I have to take issue with it. This song is about a floozy trying to seduce Santa into being her sugar daddy. Ew.

I think all people over the age of 5 can agree that the Chipmunks rendition of “Christmas Don’t Be Late” must go.

“Happy Holidays” by Andy Williams always makes me cringe. Over and over we’re told “He’ll be coming down the chimney, down.” What does that mean? Could he come down the chimney up? Perhaps he thinks we missed that he’s coming DOWN the chimney and feels compelled to repeat that part. It must be important.

The song also has the thought-provoking lyrics, “It’s the holiday season, so whoop-de-do and hickory dock.” I have no response to this.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I want to like this song. I really do. It seems to be a charming duet, but in this duet, the man is constantly pressuring the woman to stay despite her repeated attempts to leave. This charmer never once listens to her, but merely uses every means at his disposal to manipulate her into staying, even telling her that leaving would hurt his pride and asks how she could do this to him. Geez, man, no means no.

In one line the lady sings, “Say, what’s in this drink?” Did he slip her a Roofie?

Things are not going to go well for this woman. There’s bound to be talk tomorrow.

Finally, the title notwithstanding, I despise “My Favorite Things.” I know it’s Julie Andrews and disliking Julie Andrews is like disliking puppies, but I cannot get behind this song.

First of all, when did this become a Christmas song? It was in the “Sound of Music,” which takes place largely in spring and summer (the hills are alive, after all). So why do we hear “My Favorite Things” at Christmas? I’ve never understood how we let this happen.

But that’s not the main reason I don’t like this song. I hate this song because Julie Andrews’ favorite things are stupid.

Among her favorite things are brown paper packages and doorbells. I don’t buy it, Julie. It is doubtful that such mundane items are among anyone’s favorite things.

Also, the song is full of false promises that I can reduce negative feelings by bringing these things to mind. Not once in my life, when I’ve felt sad, did thinking of bright copper kettles and/or warm woolen mittens help me to feel better.

And if dwelling on girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes improves her mood, Ms. Andrews might want to seek some help for that particular coping technique. It’s creepy.

I know I have no power to end any of this. I will hear every one of these songs multiple times over the next few weeks. And I know I will think these things every time I hear one of them, but I feel better having shared my burden.

Joy Carrico is a Messenger graphic artist. She’s fairly certain Santa does not keep track of when she’s sleeping.

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