From a post written about this time last year:
Not just one, but two, local radio stations are airing nothing but Christmas music until the 25th. Again, after the 25th, this all stops, as if Christmas were over then, when it’s actually only begun. Again, sad. They’re going to stop playing the Christmas music when they should be just starting to play it, and since they have so much airtime to fill, they really have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find enough music to play. Dogs singing “Jingle Bells” is only the tip of the iceberg.
Sigh. They’re both at it again. Already. One of them started playing Christmas music last Friday and the other last Saturday. And they’re scraping the bottom of that barrel even harder this year. I’ve already heard the Christmas song by Wham! four times. No one, at any time, for any reason, should have to be subjected to Wham!
Besides the burnout factor (making people sick of Christmas by the time the 25th rolls around, when Christmas actually doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve), and besides perpetuating the “Christmas is over by the end of the day on the 25th” nonsense (again, it’s only just begun then, and it continues through January 6th), there’s the “listen to how I make this song my own” thing that really bothers me.
If you were to listen to some of your parents’ or grandparents’ Christmas recordings, you’d notice something. In times past, no matter who the singers were, whether semi-classical (Mario Lanza), pop (Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Jim Nabors), or country (Gene Autry), people sang the songs pretty much straight: the way they were written. The only embellishments you’d hear would be some scooping (and man, Bing Crosby never missed an opportunity to scoop: they called it crooning back then). There were none of these American Idol-style vocal gymnastics going on. The reason? Singers had voices. They could actually sing. They let the God-given character of their voices be what set them apart from everyone else, not their ability to do the vocal equivalent of Czerny exercises in place of the actual melody. So Jim Nabors’ rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear” was note-for-note exactly like Jack Jones’ rendition: that’s because they were singing the song the way the songwriter wrote it. Imagine that! And no, it didn’t make their versions sound exactly the same. The character and tone of their voices were different.
An artist makes a song his or her own by bringing out the inherent emotions in the song, while singing the song itself, not wobbling and dribbling all around the song. Of course, if most singers today tried to do this, it would only show the world that a) they cannot sing on pitch and b) they cannot count.