In Defense of Christmas Music

Editor’s old comedy buddy DK Hamilton has been fighting the good fight on his facebook page, defending the rare pearls hidden among the dreck that is most Christmas music, and we thought it was too good not to share.

Yes, most Christmas music is terrible. The Christmas album is generally an artist’s admission that they’ve run out of ideas and need to make a quick score (except for Pentatonix, which has never had any ideas).

Christmas cover songs don’t work in general because Christmas songs work through emotional connection and nostalgia (of course, the emotional connection is also why a lot of people hate Christmas music and Christmas for that matter). New Christmas songs often fail for the same reason. There is no existing emotional connection and the song has to survive on its own merits and work its way into a crowded playlist.

Okay, I’m a Christmas person. I’m not religious, so for me it’s a short cut to remembering the anticipation of Christmas when I was a kid. I remember getting a little sad on Dec 26th, because that was the day the furthest away from the next Christmas (fortunately they have prescriptions for this type of thinking). Anyway, I want to defend Christmas music. Not all of it, again most of it is terrible but I want to talk about the ones that I find transcendent.

Come on. Seriously. This song was written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells, neither of whom observed Christmas and wrote it on a July day. Then they named it “The Christmas Song.” Not “A” Christmas song, but “THE” Christmas Song. Maybe they didn’t mean to have that level of chutzpah . But Nat “King” Cole was like “Challenge accepted. I got you fam.”

I mean, come on. The chord progression in this song is bananas. This is a solid melody even without the lyrics. And Cole’s voice glides over the strings and guitar like Michelle Kwan. I get that Christmas is commercialized and stores pretty much play Christmas music once the fireworks die down on the 4th of July. But if you have any type of connection to Christmas but can’t appreciate the genius of this song, you might be a fed.

Next: Why Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” isn’t really about Christmas.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: