"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
"...you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?" -- Steve Gilliard, 1964 - 2007

"For straight up monster-stomping goodness, nothing makes smoke shoot out my ears like Brilliant@Breakfast" -- Tata

"...the best bleacher bum since Pete Axthelm" -- Randy K.

"I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." -- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (1954-2015), They Live
Saturday, December 25, 2010

Just because a song has the word "Christmas" in it doesn't make it a Christmas song
Posted by Jill | 12:09 PM
I know that the holiday season is one of sad memories and loss for many people. It seems that a disproportionate number of people lose loved ones during the holidays -- parents, spouses, even children. I think of Elizabeth Edwards' young children, still raw from the loss of their mother, trying to find a way to observe Christmas in some way that doesn't make it worse. I have a friend who lost her husband in the fall and her father last week -- a double 4th quarter whammy. Colored lights and TV commercials showing large, loving families sometimes just serve to rub salt in the wounds.

Still, the fact that between 2 PM yesterday and 10 AM this morning I heard Joni Mitchell's "River" not once but THREE SEPARATE TIMES on the radio makes me wonder. I know we all feel that if we have to hear "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" one more time a well-placed icepick embedded squarely in one's own frontal lobe sounds like an appealing prospect, but I'm not sure that "River" is the answer.

It's one thing to be a brooding, depressive adolescent, writing sad poetry in a blank book while sitting alone at lunchtime at school and coming home to listen to the Blue album and crying. It's quite another for the very same people who perpetrate Burl Ives on us every Christmas to decide that the presence of the word "Christmas" in the first line makes "River" something to which even the loneliest, most depressive adult in the world should be listening on Christmas.

If you've got the blues on Christmas, there are far better choices. Like Sonny Boy Williamson's Christmas Blues:

Or Charley Jordan's Christmas Christmas Blues:

Or Eric Clapton, Crying Christmas Tears:

Or Blind Lemon Jefferson, Christmas Eve Blues

Or if your mood leans more to rage and cynicism than tears and depression, there's Maxine of the Hallmark Cards, Crabby Christmas Blues:

Or Ray Davis, in a solo performance of the Kinks, Father Christmas:

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
Blogger D. said...
Well, there is also the riff on "Jingle Bells" that opens "River;" but I don't think anyone thought of it as a Christmas song until it appeared in Love Actually.

(Speaking of "Jingle Bells," my vague probably-inaccurate recollection is that it has nothing to do with Christmas; it's a winter sort of song that apparently became synecdochic for Christmas by accident.)