Monday, December 9, 2013

Five Christmas songs that make me sad

Technically, that would be any Christmas song. The uplifting ones remind me of how far we fall short in carrying out Christ's messages about tolerance, kindness, love for our fellow man -- including the ones we don't immediately find lovable -- and assistance for those who need it. I see too little of that in North Carolina (or the world, for that matter) these days.

Most intentionally sad Christmas songs, such as "Blue Christmas," remark on the absence of a loved one. Those aren't especially sad to me, unless the singer is imprisoned for life, because a reunion is possible if the parted lovers get together or make up or overcome obstacles. Here are my five choices, in alphabetical order:

"I Believe in Father Christmas" -- Greg Lake expresses his disgust for humanity, which has failed to achieve the dream: "They said there'll be snow at Christmas/They said there'll be peace on Earth/But instead it just kept on raining/A veil of tears for the virgin's birth." He concludes with this: "Hallelujah! Noel! Be it heaven or hell/The Christmas we get we deserve." Ouch.

"If We Make it Through December" -- Merle Haggard has wrongly been claimed by conservatives (he's more of a libertarian), but people from any political party can appreciate this mournful tune about a guy who gets laid off at a factory just before the holidays. His "little girl don't understand why daddy can't afford no Christmas here." An all too common story nowadays.

"Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus?" -- Sung to a cha cha beat and meant to be funny, as a little boy asks his mother where Santa may be. The kid expects to hear Santa click his castanets on the roof and call out to his reindeer: Pedro, Vixen, Pancho and Blitzen. But his mom doesn't reply, and somehow I don't think he's getting any gifts. Might just be me, though.

"Pretty Paper" -- Shoppers bustle to and fro. Money changes hands, everyone's loaded with presents and heading home in a good mood -- except for the weeping homeless guy sitting on the curb. The narrator thinks about stopping to do a good deed, but he's in such a hurry! And homeless guys are depressing, so he moves on. Written by Willie Nelson, sung unforgettably by Roy Orbison:

"Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto" -- James Brown urges Saint Nicholas to leave "a toy for Johnnie, a dog for Mary, something pretty for Donnie, and don't forget Gary." Everybody has forgotten these kids except, perhaps, Santa. Brown puts a little poignant coda on it, remembering childhood poverty: "You know that I know that you will see/'Cause that was once me."


Anonymous said...

You left off my favorite from SouthPark...

Anonymous said...

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!

Anonymous said...

Grandma Got Molested At The Airport

QPT said...

JingleBells Jinglebells will bring joy to all.