In Defense of Christmas Music – Pt. 3

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.

1984 was the year of Purple Rain with the top selling album, hit movie and supporting tour. So Prince releasing a Christmas song that November should have been a guaranteed hit. So why haven’t you heard it?

Because it’s weird. Way too weird to be a Christmas staple. In summary, Prince misses his ex so every year since he lost her he gets drunk on banana daiquiris. Oh, and it’s probably the only Christmas song that features the word “horny” (it’s only strongly implied in Baby, It’s Cold Outside). So yeah, I can’t imagine why they don’t play this at Target.

There are no sleigh bells, chimes, or any other musical cues that would indicate that this is a Christmas song, other than the opening chorus (Yes, the song begins with the chorus):

“Last night, I spent another lonely Christmas.
Darling, darling you should have been there.
‘Cause all the ones I dream about, you are the only one that makes my heart shout, you see.
You are the only one I care for.”

Okay, so he’s heartbroken on Christmas. There are many Christmas songs about heartbreak. And there are Christmas songs that sound sad, even though the lyrics aren’t necessarily that way. “Christmastime is Here” should have been subtitled “So Don’t Forget to Refill Your Prozac.” And “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas” hits you with:“Through the years we all will be together…if the Fates allow.” Mood killer.

Anyway, I’m listening to Another Lonely Christmas for the first time at the age of 14. And so far, Prince is heartbroken. That’s okay. Some of his best songs are about heartbreak. He even made a song called “Gotta Broken Heart Again” so even he knows this is a well-worn topic. So why is he lonely on Christmas? Did Morris steal his girl again? Morris! Oh, he’s building up to it. He’s singing about how they she used to beat him at Pokeno, how he saw saw her sister skating on the lake, and how she’s the finest of her father’s children. He misses her, we get it. Then he drops this:

“Cause baby, you promised me.
Baby you promised me that you’d never leave.
Then you died on the 25th day of December.”

Wait, what?What are we supposed to do with this information? His girlfriend died on Christmas?

“Your father said it was pneumonia.
Your mother said it was strep.
The doctor said you were dead and
I say it’s senseless.”

So yeah, at least Pentatonix won’t remake this song. The song itself features Prince playing every instrument including live drumming, his typically excellent guitar work, and piano sorcery. But doesn’t work as a Christmas song and was his only unforced error in 1984. You literally can’t do anything to it. You can’t dance to it, it’s not a ballad. It doesn’t sound like Christmas. You just listen to it and wonder why Prince decided to do this to you. It messed 14 year old me pretty badly, but I wore it out that Christmas. And I still dust it off each Christmas since.

Next: Impress your friends and baffle your enemies by putting this song on your holiday playlist.


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