All I Want for Christmas is to Not Hear Mariah Carey

Alternate Title: Where’s Jona Been All My Life?

I used to think Christmas music was inherently bad. I’ve since learned that I just didn’t want to hear “All I Want for Christmas is You,” “Last Christmas” or any other pop renditions of Jesus’s birthday.

I’m old enough, maybe sappy enough, to enjoy some Christmas music. I never had anything against all the oldies, except the most played out like “White Christmas.” But I’ll still go for Darlene Love, “Rockin’ Around,” “Jingle Bell Rock” or of course Jose Feliciano (old or new, doesn’t matter).

I don’t know what it is about Mariah or George Michael that drives me up a wall. I don’t have much more to say about it than that. If you agree, maybe you’ll dig these. I’m inspired to opine by a discovery yesterday, an English tune as old as myself, and a gamechanger in my festive nativity repertoire.

Stop the Cavalry

The song was composed as an anti-war anthem, but the public converted it into a Christmas song. In hindsight, hard to see it go any other way.

Every time I come across a new English musician I come back to the same conclusion, that somehow they’re just better at music. While Americans invent all the genres, and the English may never may worthy hip-hop, they are undeniably better at rock and pop. Or at least punch well above their weight, given their fraction of the U.S. population.

Fairytale of New York

My new pick from Jona is great, but nothing will ever dethrone Fairytale in my book. Maybe resonates more for those of us who have been in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve. Or those who refuse to give up the broken dreams. Still makes me choke back a tear. You get sappy with age. This is claimed by the Irish, but technically score another for the English.

Christmas in Hollis

My first love. Featured in Die Hard, but I first heard it on the compilation it originally appeared on. At some point my father obtained it on CD, which would have been years later in the 90s, which I remember because they would always skip past it while my brother and I would play it on repeat. That kind of action ruined the track, made it skip.

Almost embarrassed to put a hip-hop track here. But in my defense, I’m a product of the 80s and 90s. If you didn’t listen to rap, you had underweight testicles. As the male body matures, it discards rap at around 40 years of age. Those who don’t discard it likely have an underweight brain. It’s science.

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)

Is this one really a standout? It’s The Ramones. If you like one, you like them all. For the rest of your life. That’s my experience anyway.

Vamos Pastores

Vamos Pastores, which keeps with the less commercial Nativity celebrations of Latin America, was my first favorite in Spanish, discovered while living in the land of Santa Rosa and San Martin de Porres.

Mi Burrito Sabanero

There’s a full genre of children’s Christmas songs in castellano. For those looking to teach the language of Cervantes to their children, singing these is a fun lesson we’re doing.

While we’re celebrating the Son of God, have you heathens hit your knees yet? This one helps me keep out of the drunk tank.

Happy Christmas!

4 comments

  1. Colin

    It’s amazing that you would pick those two songs to rant about. I’ve been learning to play the piano in retirement and I have a subscription to a sheet music service called Sheet Music Direct. I added 2 Christmas songs to my collection in December. Yes, they were “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and “Last Christmas”. I already had John Lennon’s “Happy XMas” in a John Lennon collection. For me that is the best Beatles Christmas song beating Paul’s “Wonderful Christmas Time”. But as for all the traditional Christmas songs, I change the radio station when I hear them. Bah humbug.

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    1. I’ll start by giving you mad props for learning to play an instrument, especially one as cool as piano. I’m a fan of Duke Ellington.

      As far as your Christmas choices, I think this came up in the old forum days that you like top 40 pop music. People have their own tastes. I’ll never forget I met a real music snob bartending back in my grad school days. I wouldn’t say he scoffed, but here’s the quote when I mentioned Edith Piaf. “I don’t like popular music.” We were talking about Edith Piaf! I’m not that bad.

      It may not be that crazy of a coincidence because those two are probably, or at least they seem to me, the two most popular Christmas songs in any given year.

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  2. Colin
    I just remembered that I heard this song for the first time about 3 weeks ago, but it was released in 2019 by Bryan Adams. I don’t know how you will feel about this one, but because rock is my favorite genre I like it a lot.

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  3. The British Christmas song we all love… ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’ by Greg Lake from 1975, the best one alongside ‘Fairytale of New York’ and as you said, Jonah Lewie is always a favourite and there is one by Chris de Burgh (who is Irish) and a Spaceman travelled, anyway, I will leave them here and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – we need your take on Peru’s shitty congress for 2023.

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