Blast from the past . . .

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.

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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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8 Responses to Blast from the past . . .

  1. Brad says:

    Yeah, my staff has their radio tuned to “that station” as of today…when it registered that I was hearing the Wham! song (at least that MUST be what you’re referring to – “Last Christ-mas, I gave you mah heart, but the very next day you gave it away…” is that it? I know I heard it at least twice today) I shouted to them, “Is this Christmas music ALREADY??” And reminded them of the offensive repetition that would take place…the problem is that people have been starved all year of Dolly’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and Elton’s “Step into Christmas,” that they’re anxious to play them at the first cold snap – then ready to toss the radio out the window come mid-December. I’m trying to abstain personally – at least until mid next week when I’ll finally pull out my exquisite Carols from Trinity. Unlike the Wham! song, though, I could listen to Carols from Trinity all year long.

    Though I did hear the Gene Autry “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” that transports me back to 6 years-old decorating the tree at my grandparents – it was nice.

  2. ChuckM says:

    Oh. Wham!. Right.

  3. RevJATB says:

    Yes, “Last Christmas”: that’s the name of it.

    And of course, if George Michael were to tell us what he actually was doing last Christmas, we wouldn’t want to hear about it.

  4. cancerman says:

    There are so many things to say. How can you not like a band that has an ! in its name. Really poor Andrew Ridgley and what’s his name have been through so much.

    I guess from your point of view the Elvis “Blue Christmas” is superior to the Porky Pig version. I just find that sad.

  5. Brad B says:

    Right now we’re hearing Bette Midler’s “From a Distance,” which has been adapted to the holiday season by tacking the refrain melody of “O Come Let Us Adore Him” to the end of the song…how sweet.

    But – I usually think Celine Dion’s wayyyy over the top, and she gets on my nerves, but I did like her rendition of “O Holy Night”

    Oh…now it’s “All I want for Christmas is you” – gosh this is gonna get old.

  6. RevJATB says:

    Is Celine able to work the word “lerve” into her version of “O Holy Night”?

  7. WonderGirl says:

    Amen and amen! All that wobbedly gook they sing makes it impossible to sing along. It’s so egocentric.

  8. Rosie says:

    Carol Nazi.
    If I had my way, it would be acceptable to sing Christmas songs all year, but singing “Winter Wonderland” would be punishable by death.

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