A Christmas Wish

To All Mall, Store & Elevator Music Directors,

If you insist on playing Christmas-like music 24/7 could you please at least play it the way god intended it to be played?

Jazz, Blues, R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap, Techno-Pop, Pop, Rock, Heavy Metal, Disco, Rockabilly, Polka, Gospel, Salsa, Opera, Ballad, Bluegrass, Barbershop, Soul, Contemplative, Doo-wop, Zydeco, Folk, Spoken-Word and New Country versions of Santa Claus is Coming to Town are as ridiculous as they are irritating.

If music people want to get “creative” with Christmas-like music, they should write their own like John Lennon or Boney M. did. Mary’s Boy Child never fails to make me feel not only Christmassy, but also almost makes me feel like I could possibly nearly actually almost believe in the boy child.

[Happy Christmas (War is Over) (aka And So This is Christmas) just makes me weep openly, so maybe this wouldn’t be a good mall choice.]

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28 responses to “A Christmas Wish

  1. Jazz versions of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” built Christmas sister, and don’t you forget it! 🙂

  2. I love my Christmas jazz CD: lots of Oscar Peterson instrumentals, Louis Armstrong’s “Winter Wonderland”, Diana Krall’s “Christmas Time is Here”.

    And I reeeeeally like Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. So I guess I’d better not go Christmas shopping with you, XUP. My singing along with the piped-in music might drive you to violence. 🙂

    Come to think of it, you might like one original Christmas song with an, umm, different outlook on the season: Michael Franks’ “I Bought You a Plastic Star for Your Aluminum Tree.” It’s a pretty good song, and also on my CD. Go figure.

  3. I conduct the Trans Siberian Orchestra while in my car. With Gusto. I also do the sound effects. With gusto. You might want to stand far away from me when their music comes on.

    (otherwise, I am so with you)

  4. You would, apparently, be greatly pained by the two “Ultra Lounge” Christmas albums I have that totally tickle my fancy down to my toes. Beyond this though, I’m pretty traditional when it comes to my holiday music.

    Plus? I am happy to say that thus far, all ridiculous mall music has escaped me this year as I have yet to set foot anywhere near one. (Refer to your previous post on internet shopping. Ho, ho, ho!)

  5. I just posted YELLO doing Jingle Bells (well sotra) on my Random Acts of Music Blog, and on the weekend I’m posting of all things BILLY IDOL singing Jingle Bell Rock… Seems Billy must have owed a little money back in 2000 and 6 because I can imagine no other worldly reason why this album even exists…

    As for Ultra Lounge, I have not only their 3 Christmas CD’s but a good 12 others This is music to drink by… EXCESSIVELY! My liver may not like the CD’s but I do!

    Otherwise Christmas is not complete without Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Bing and the Andrews Sisters, Ella and Tony B and Ginette Reno… Minuit Chretien makes me weep in it’s beauty…

    And because I’m Misster Kitty, I must also plug: Jingle Cats (as annoying as they are fun) and Venus Envy (a Lesbionic group) and their Christmas CD “I’ll be a Homo for Christmas” CLASSIC! and remember kids you can’t spell CLASS without ASS. 🙂

  6. I beg your pardon XUP… but there’s something even worst… José Feliciano! Thank God it’s only once a year!

    feliz navidad, feliz navidad… BANG!!

  7. Oh man, I bawl like a baby everytime I hear Happy Christmas – War is Over. Yeah, probably not best for the mall.

  8. I have the ultimate Christmas torture song

    Alvin and the Chimpmunks

    The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)

    1958.

    I was just speaking with a woman that had worked in a five and dime store the summer that song came out (her first job, 15 yrs old I think she said). anyway, since the owner was making a killing selling it on 45 records, they played it over and over and over, all day and night. As she was telling me the story, she cringed at the memory.

  9. Ellie – Christmas music can be very nice around a fire with lots of fortifying beverages and twinkly lights — but not in a mall piped in incessantly while people are pushing and shoving and you’re sweltering hot in your parka.

    Bandobras – I’m sure some of your friends from the 60s will enjoy it.

    Dr. M – Actually the jazzy versions of some Christmas songs aren’t too bad. I actually have a jazzy Christmas CD and it’s pretty hep. Not too Christmassy, but you know…hep

    Loth – Oh no, Cliff is definitely over here, too. I’m not sure if I ever heard him doing Xmas, though…

    Alison – Like I told Dr. M., I don’t mind the jazzy Xmas songs too much. Springsteen you can keep. But I will have to check out Michael Franks. Somtime.

    Violetsky – Christmas music well done is lovely (some of it), but Christmas music overdone and undone and redone, not so much.

    Melanie – When I’m getting groceries and over the loudspeaker some young thing is wailing:”Oh ya baby I said Sa-ah-ah-ah-ah-AAAAA-ah-ah-ah-ntAHHHHH …. Kay-Louzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz is comin’ tooooooooooooo TOW-WOW-WOW-WOW-WOW-WOW-WA-WA-WA-WAAAAAAAAAAnnn. That’s when I lose it.

    Lesley – Well, if I was at your house, sitting around while you fed me delicious stuff and kept refilling my wine glass whilst chatting aimiably to me, I’d be more than happy to listen to lounge singers doing Xmas. And have I told you by the way that YOUR new atavar photo is stunning? Really. Gorgeous.

    Kitty – I went to visit your RAoM blog, which I somehow never noticed existed before now. It’s crazy, man!! That Yello guy — eeek. Everyone should go and see the stuff you’ve collected over there.

    Guillermo – Did Jose actually ever record anything else besides Feliz Navidad? I must admit, it’s quite grating after the 10,000th time you hear it in one month.

    Quack – Isn’t that odd? It’s such a simple song. Simple melody. Simple lyrics. Yet heart-wrenching. I wonder if it would quite so poignant if Lennon was still alive?

    Reeky – Ha ha. I love that song. I YouTubed it and I’m listening to it right now!! I’d forgotten all about it. You don’t really hear it too much anymore. I can see how hearing more than maybe once or twice in one year would be grating.

  10. I completely agree with you. Give me traditional carols sung by choirs, or old-style singers like Bing Crosby or Perry Como! None of this new crap – well, except for “Happy Christmas – war is over” and “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all” and Bruce’s version of “Santa Claus is coming to town” and … okay, maybe I do like some of the more modern Christmas songs. I seem to be somewhat conflicted. Sigh …

  11. I will haaaaaaappily feed you delicious food and sumptuous wine as we spend time conversing happily while listening to our lounge-y Christmas tunes. Cheers!! (And thank you for the Avatar compliment – love that coming from you!)

  12. What about the jazz stylings of Vince Guaraldi, from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” fame?
    Or any version of my favourite all-time Christmas song, “Do You See What I See?”? Whitney Houston does it beautifully. If anyone can hook me up with a copy of the version I recall from my childhood, by Sandler and Young, g’ahead — make my Christmas Day.
    And does anyone know if anyone other than Clay Aiken (gag! — nothing to do with his sexuality, either) does “Mary Did You Know?”.

    PLUS “Barenaked for the Holidays” is awesome — the entire CD, especially the collaboration with Sarah McLachlan.

    The mention of Clay Aiken reminds me, did you know that Canadian Idol will not be produced in 2009? I just read about it on the Toronto Star website.

  13. i agree. i like bing crosby and the like. all of these silly remakes is as bad as that pop rap band that re did gordon lightfoot’s if you could read my mind. makes sense though. they lack the skill and creativity to do anything original themselves.

  14. I don’t hate all Christmas music, but I have to agree with you that there is a whole lotta bad out there in that genre. Like, I’d rather a stick a fork in my ear bad.

  15. I actually like jazz renditions of some of my favorite holiday music…but I’m a big lover of jazz in any form.

    But overall, yes, you’re right. The rest of it must go. It only adds pain to an already over-stressed time.

  16. Pinklea – Oh dear. Hey, there are no hard and fast rules here. There could possibly be one or two new renditions of old favorites that I like better too – but mostly that stuff they play in shops bites.

    Lesley – Oh boy!! It really is a great photo. You look like Greta Garbo or something.

    Bob – No Canadian Idol? Oh no!!! (secretly I don’t give a crap). I will take your other recommendations under advisement.

    Ranio – Der Bingo puts me to sleep. And all that stuff I’ve heard about him abusing his wife and kids leaves a bad taste in my mouth whenever I hear him now. But ya, everything is a remake these days – music, TV, movies, books, architecture, fashion…Has all the original stuff been done?

    Kimberly – It’s just easier to avoid places where they play bad Xmas remakes. The ear/fork thing really puts a damper on the whole holiday season.

    Debra – Like I said to a couple of other people, I like jazz a lot and own some jazzy Christmas tunes, too. And there are some nice remakes of old classics in other genres as well. But for the most part the ca-ca they play in public places is, as you say, an added stress thing. I wonder if they realize this and if it’s done purposely? Big stores have all this stuff worked out precisely for maximum customer spending – product placement, the arrangement of the store, the lighting, the location of the cashiers… so I can’t imagine they’d overlook music. Somehow this aggravating Christmas music must make people buy more… In the same way that larger department stores deliberately create a confusing, chaotic traffic flow so that people end up going to areas of the store they didn’t want to go.

  17. Look at the bright side. At least you don’t work in a mall and have to hear this crap every bloody working hour of every day.

    Imagine the horror.

  18. Jazz – I know. I often sympathize with those poor retail workers. They say they can block it out after a while, until someone comes in and sypathizes with them and they’re reminded of it. Then they thank me politely.

  19. I nearly forgot Gayla Peevey’s I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS!

    and I’m not asshamed to say I sing this song YEAR ROUND!

    When in France earlier this year we went to a local chain resto called Le Hippopotomus Grill le Hippopo for short… (Great food!) Picture me singing I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMAS FOR CHRISTMAS in the middle of June in a Restaurant in Paris… good times, good times.

  20. Tiny correction. Mary’s Boy Child was written long before Bony M came on the scene. It was written in 1956 and first recorded my Harry Belfonte. However, I agree it’s a beautiful song.

    AND please please please do not take a beautiful Christmas song and turn it into some gawd awful caterwaulling like Mariah Carey’s versions.

    The joy of Christmas songs is that they are familiar and comfortable. Whether we can sing or not, we all sing and hum along. I get really irritated when I’m singing along and all of a sudden the song goes off on some wild tangent.

  21. I didn’t go through the comments but I’m with you on this. A clerk asked me if they could get me anything else. I said no I really needed to leave on account of the bad music. I don’t think that helped.

    I am trying to be zen but it’s not working.

  22. Kitty – I wish I’d been in Paris in June – not so much to hear you sing about Hippos….just because it would have been nice to be in Paris in June

    Meanie – Errrr… okay. Elvis can be forgiven anything

    UP – I didn’t know that. I love Harry Belafonte and I’d love to hear his version of that song. I’ll have to go hunt it down. Day-Oh! Mariah Carey – eeeeKKKK.

    Nat – I’ve left stores all year round because of their music choices. Some places have the tunes cranked up so high you can’t hear anyone speaking to you. I don’t understand the strategy behind that choice.