08 December 2010

Jumping Off The Carol-Killing Cliff

Being a sort of casual music nerd, I naturally pay a fair amount of attention to Christmas songs, and over the past few years it seems that there's always one song that everyone covers in the same year. This results in the same radio station being forced to play varying versions of the same song twenty times in an hour for twenty-five straight days because there is nothing else to play.
Why is this? Why do all the artists pick the same song to cover every year? And why is it always the annoying songs? In the past few years, 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree,' 'Jingle Bell Rock,' 'Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland,' and 'Sleigh Ride' (barely tolerable songs in their own right), have all been slowly bludgeoned to death by the warbling voices of past-prime 40-somethings trying to be cool, screeching guitars (fine in other cases, but please don't touch the Christmas material), and a ghastly overload of lyric-drowning drums. (I won't even get into the lyrical mutations of what used to be 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas.')
This year the victim seems to be 'Let It Snow.'
I've never really cared for that song -- too much fluff (no pun intended) and not enough substance if you ask me. For some unknown reason I've always thought the lyrics to be bordering on nonsense.
I would ordinarily be glad of this -- one would think that hearing the same song literally thousands of times between the first of December and Christmas day would result in a total boycott of the mangled songs over the next few decades or so. Unfortunately, if the past few years are any indication, that will not be the case. Usually the 'chosen' song enjoys an extreme spike in intense popularity for one Christmas season, then returns back to its slightly-lower-profile-but-still-overplayed status the next year... only now there's seven hundred different remixes of it and they're all equally unbearable.
Another one that's suddenly become the Christmas song of choice is 'I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.' This mystifies me, as I'd never even heard of the title until this year, and believe me, I know nearly every Christmas carol in existence. I would never have expected such an obscure song to go mainstream, at least not for a few more years. It's a nice song, but its sudden popularity and the resulting avalanche of hard-rock remixes worry me. To beat the annoying 'cutesy' songs to death is bad enough, but to ruin the classics is bordering unforgivable. There are just some songs that are not screamo material, and Christmas carols make up at least 95% of that category.
And to think I used to wonder why everyone seems to hate Christmas.

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