Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Songs Do Not Always Inspire Comfort and Joy

Once again, it is Monday. And, like most Mondays, I did not want to come to work today. It's supposed to sleet, freezing rain and snow and be generally nasty on the roads later today. Combine that with the fact that, being a light sleeper, I woke up to the sound of my neighbour's alarm this morning. It's fairly loud and it's one of those incessant beeps that make you want to throw it across the room. Either my neighbour is the heaviest sleeper in the world and doesn't wake up after even an hour of the beeping or he's gone away and forgot to shut his alarm off. Since I didn't hear his large dog barking, I'm going to go with the latter option.

Needless to say, it feels very much like a Monday. It snowed this weekend though. I have discovered that while I adore snow and love it when it falls, I prefer not to drive in it. It's a little less friendly and peaceful when you start to slide on the road. This morning, fortunately, the roads are clear. I'm hoping they stay that way. If it freezing rains, it's going to be awful. I don't know if you've ever seen an ice storm but it really is one of the more beautiful acts of weather. The rain falls and encases everything into this ice shell, like you're looking at a crystalized landscape. It's absolutely lovely to see. The downside is that freezing rain is a nightmare to drive on. Your car feels like it's trying to ice-skate. Not fun. Hopefully if it does freezing rain, it'll be after everyone is home for the evening.

While I was driving in to work, I had my radio tuned to one of those 24 hour Christmas music stations. Now it's the season, I don't mind some Christmas music. Since it's a small Ohio town, I don't have many options for music on the radio unless I like country music (which I don't) or that deep-fried Midwestern rock where everyone sounds like they swallowed a pound of gravel and only know about three chords. So, Christmas music it is at the moment. It occured to me that Christmas music is a little odd at times. I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I like my Christmas Carols- to me, that's real Christmas music. I love the Transiberian Orchestra with their rock spin on Christmas carols. I don't mind some of the contemporary stuff, I mean, who could NOT like "Do They Know it's Christmas" by Band Aid?

I'm talking about the songs like "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer". Have you ever really thought about that song? You have this poor creature who is born with an odd nose. He can't help it. It's red and it flashes. I agree, that wouldn't be terribly easy to ignore but apparently, all of the other reindeer laughed and called him names because of his nose. They wouldn't let him play their reindeer games. Then, the minute he proves to be useful, they suddenly turn around and are his best friends. I suppose it's good that they had a change of heart but I don't think I'd be trusting those reindeer any time soon. They sound a bit fickle to me.

I'll ignore the "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" abomination. I despise that song. I know it's supposed to be funny and, maybe it was, the first time I heard it. Yet the charm wears off extremely quickly. There are these really, really syrupy songs on the radio this time of year. I know I'm likely to offend but have you heard "The Christmas Shoes"? Oh, wow, talk about your insipidly manipulative method to try to tug at your heartstrings. It's about this kid who has no money and his mother is dying. Yet she's always wanted these special Christmas shoes (or something) and since his mother is going to die, the kid goes to the seller of the shoes and tries to buy them when he doesn't have enough money. Naturally, in the end, the kid gets the shoes and takes them home to his dying mommy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not heartless. I just find that song sickly and disturbing. I know the kid was trying to do the sweet-little-kid thing and get his mommy what she wanted most before she died but don't you think his mommy would rather have him there than have him appealing to strangers to help him buy a pair of shoes for her? Just a thought.

I heard another depressing song on the same radio station. I don't know what this one's called but it's by Dan Fogelberg and it's about this man and women who apparently were involved once upon a time and they meet up (in the rain, of course), I think on New Years. I say that because the song doesn't really say but it ends with the strains of "Auld Lang Syne". Anyway, the man and woman still love one another but the woman is married to an architect but doesn't really love him. After some mournful conversation where they both regret not being together, they seperate. Cheerful little ditty, that one.

There are a lot of other Christmas songs that I don't like much. I get fed up with "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" too. I mean, you'd think that song would only be good for about a week because, technically, once it's begun to look a lot like Christmas, wouldn't it then be "It Now Looks a Lot Like Christmas?"

I could go on but I don't want to see completely embittered. After all, there are some songs I love to hear over and over. Like I said, I'm a sucker for a Christmas carol. I love "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Oh Come All, Ye Faithful." I even like some of the non-carols like "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." I don't know the words to "Sleigh Ride" but I love to make it up and sing along loudly with a chorus of "LA LA LA LA" because it's fun. Then again, I do that with a lot of songs.

I tend to make my own Christmas CD's, once a year. They're usually a combination of old favourites: "Christmas Canon" by Transiberian Orchestra is one of my all time favourites. I love it when punk bands do covers of songs. I have an awesome Pennywise version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".

But part of me still likes to listen to the radio because it's so much more spontaneous. I mean, I might have to flip too often when I hear "The Christmas Shoes" but then they'll surprise me by playing Band Aid, Paul McCartney, Transiberian Orchestra, even Mannheim Steamroller. Mostly, I like Mannheim although occasionally it takes at least a couple of minutes to figure out what song those synthesizers are actually playing. The only other song that rubs me the wrong way is "The Little Drummer Boy." That song gets stuck in my head. I'm not fond of that little drummer boy because I find the "Rup a Pum Pum's" rather obnoxious. Though, they're really great if it gets quiet and you feel like waking people up. A rousing chorus of "RUP A PUM PUM, RUP A PUM PUM" does the trick rather nicely.

Anyway, that's my random musing for a Monday. As is usually the case, I was going to blog about something completely different but the mean-spirited and fickle nature of Rudolph's new best friends got me to thinking and thinking usually leads to blog-babble. You're just lucky I didn't hear that "Christmas Shoes" song because then I'd be ranting in a manner I usually reserve for Breaking Dawn. The bad news is that now I have the stupid "I want to buy these shoes" line stuck in my head....That's what I get for complaining, I suppose.

Happy Monday!

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