2020 has given me a fresh perspective on the songs I got so disenfranchised with.
Last year, I wrote an article which discussed how the repetition of the same songs every year has made Christmas songs "stale and dull". If you haven't yet read that, click the link and read it before this one to understand why I went full grinch towards these songs. In many ways, I stand by this opinion as well. Hearing Slade, Mariah Carey and convicted murderer Phil Spector's collection of Christmas tunes is all fun and games for a bit but you can quickly find yourself tailing off after about a week or so. In any normal year, the annual cycle of the same 15 tracks can wear on you as you walk into every shop playing from the same jukebox as the last one.
But not this year.
2020 has been sh*te. I know this, you know this, nearly 8 billion people know this. No doubt even newborn babies who haven't yet developed object permanence know this. As we have all been getting COVID, losing our jobs, breaking up with our partners and simply doing nothing, we have looked to our days of yore in an effort to find some joy. Whether it has been nostalgic music, our favourite films or the video games we grew up with, all of us looked to the better days of 2019 and before in our quest for some salvation from this, the worst of all years.
Now it's December and things may finally be back on the up. Trump is on his way out, there are multiple vaccines almost ready to go and 2021 looks as if it will start on a much better note than 2020. Admittedly, it's a low bar, but you can only beat what's in front of you and so far, 2021 seems determined to bring back the good times.
For now, though, we are still in 2020 and though things are looking up for the future, all these things - Biden's inauguration, the vaccines being rolled out etc. - are not here yet. There is still a gloomy atmosphere surrounding the world and we're still looking to combat it, which brings us to today's topic: Christmas songs.
As previously mentioned, we have comforted ourselves this year with things we are all already familiar with. Last year, I argued that our over-familiarity with the most famous Christmas Songs™ is what leads to us getting quickly fed up with them every December. Now, however, this curse has become a blessing.
Christmas Songs™ represent all that we love about the festive season. For those who are 40 and under, we grew up with many of them, if not all, blasting on the radios every year. They bring a sense of nostalgia with them and as I've highlighted in a number of articles now, nostalgia = win. In addition, they represent, well, Christmas, that time of love, joy, family, chocolate and gifts. With this representation, they deliver a sense of warmth and comfort, a sense that Christmas is here and everything will be alright. You can almost taste the Turkey when Wizzard starts playing.
This is what makes them so popular in the first place and it is why, in 2020, the "stale and dull" reasoning gets thrown completely out of the window. Who cares if we've heard them thousands of times before? Right now, we crave the memories they bring, we love that they can feel like a hug in music form. They're fun, they're joyful and they're tailor-made for a yuletide season that will be fraught with more hardship than any that has come before it.
We all have our personal favourites. Mine, for example, is Elton John's excellent 'Step Into Christmas', which isn't quite held in the same regard as Mariah Carey, Paul McCartney or Slade's efforts but nonetheless delivers an upbeat, high-adrenaline slice of Christmas fun. The fact is, though, that no matter what your favourite is, we can all agree that these songs, with their tambourines and their bells, succeed more often than not in their collective bid to spread Christmas cheer.
It's something we all greatly need right now and for that reason...I'm in.
If life has returned to normal in a year's time, the chances are I'll quickly get fed up with them again. For this year, however, I'm willing to make an exception and fully embrace the charm and innocent fun brought to us by Christmas Songs™. In this time of crisis, we all need as much merriment as we can get and for the time being, Christmas Songs™ have my full backing.
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