Is It Christmas Music?
Written by CEO Ben Arnold (ChatFellow)
(Image: Pixaby baby-boy-child-christmas-41173)
Lately music is in the air and it's Christmas music. I don't know if it's a generational thing or just that it's only fair that the new replaces the old, but I'm hearing less and less of traditional Christmas music.
But does that matter? To be honest, I've noticed that back in the good old days there were plenty of what I call "non-Christmasy Christmas music" being released just as there are still today as well. You know what I'm talking about, the song where your friend asks you, "is this a Christmas song?" That question shouldn't even need to be asked, ever!
Here's my recent tweet on the subject:
Great song. Next time I pray she adds the word "Lord" or "King" or some reference to "Jesus" or at least the "baby" or something. Thank you. Merry "Christ"mas and a hopefully non-Apocalyptic new year. https://t.co/c0B7BQKy1p via @YouTube
As you'll notice, I prefer a Christian twist on my Christmas. But seriously, even if there's the jingling of jingle bells, maybe Santa Clause shouting "ho, ho, ho" or other obscenities that makes us feel that it's snowing and there's a warm fire burning in our TV room (preferably a fake fire that looks more real than the real thing) and hot chocolate or eggnog, then I'm happy, no references to the Lord necessary (because the next song will).
George Michael's song "Last Christmas (1)" would almost fall into that category if he didn't wisely say the word "Christmas" a hundred times in the song, but also he has Jingle bells ringing very loudly in the background and other Christmasy tunes. The theme is about gifts. But it's a really long song and he puts plenty of puppy love drama in there as well. However because of all the Christmas jazz that he put into his song it's definitely a Christmas song but with 50% other jazz in there as well, very clever, and I'm happy it's so long because the next song on the radio might be only 10% Christmasy.
"Last Christmas was written and produced by George Michael and hit the charts regularly for more than 30 years (1)."
The longer the song, the better, if it's indeed a true Christmas song. Because the next song is likely to ruin the mood (the Christmas spirit). If you have to ask yourself or somebody else if it's a Christmas song then it most likely isn't or else it's one of those fake Christmas songs. Or a more polite way to say it is that it's a non-Christmasy Christmas song. Because they obviously intended for it to be a Christmas song, because it's on their Christmas album, and they just failed miserably at it.
Albums are a necessary evil that unfortunately creates these filler songs. Not usually, but just occasionally, and so Albums are still a wonderful invention but they do produce their occasional bad apple. And I think that's how they end up on the radio, is because the radio station says put on some Christmas albums, oops.
And Hollywood isn't doing much better! Here's a great article on whether or not Hollywood just like the music industry is actually crashing and burning or not: https://www.behance.net/gallery/60204543/Movies-and-Directing
You know these musicians know what Christmas is supposed to sound like because their other songs on the album are "chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose..." and so on. Or "Let It Snow" and other songs that quite literally have defined Christmas over the years and decades and half century in America.
George Michael certainly hit it right on the nose, and what impresses me the most every time I hear his song is that he's one of the few artists who created a non-traditional Christmas song, way, way off, and yet it's totally Christmasy and easily fits on the classics list. Wouldn't it be awesome to see more Christmas songs rather than just the same songs sung by 100 different singers over the past half century?
"Despite that simplicity, Michael was also striving to sound unique (2)."
Which is another reason that I hope musicians in America will continue creating unique originals, but make it Christmasy. Adding Jingle bells and putting on your opera voice and slowing the solo down to a snail's speed, doesn't cut it, sorry (all those 2 hour long Holy Nights are driving me crazy). Pay attention to how George Michael turned a puppy love drama into Santa's favorite pick. And it's fast, it is solo, but it's cheery, even in the sun light of day (not just Holy Nights)!
"You’re sure to have your own selection of rituals or customs that make the holiday season so special (3)."
I'm not an expert on Christmas in other parts of the world but I've noticed they do a great job in many, many other countries as well (4)(5). America's influence on other nations is no secret. And so it's even more important that America does it right because we don't want Christmas all around the world to some day descend into a non-Christmasy Christmas.
It seems that most Christmas songs on everybody's albums are the ones that copy the traditional music, word for work, tune for tune, and of course with loud Jingle bells in the background. Is that because they're scared to produce a Christmas song that might not be Christmasy? Then let George Michael be your guide. He nailed it beautifully, majestically, and perfectly (2)!
For a start, use the loud Jingle bells, how else can you mimic snow in a song? Or Santa's Reindeer and sleigh as it flies through the air.
"As soon as the 15th of December comes around we need everyone to be downloading or streaming George Michael's song "Last Christmas". Yes, I know I'm a few days late but I went ahead and quoted that article (6) because I'm fully on board when he says, "this would be the greatest tribute to a national icon one year after his untimely passing."
And remember, if you hear those reindeer hooves clomping on the ground and it's not on the roof, then it's not Santa. Because Santa's reindeer can fly!
-Ben Arnold (ChatFellow)
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CEO Ben Arnold (ChatFellow)
(1) Last Christmas
(2) Still saving us from tears: the inside story...
(3) 11 weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the world
(4) Christmas Around the World
(5) Christmas traditions around the world
(6) George Michael’s Last Christmas could be Christmas number one 33 years after release