Sunday, December 22, 2013

Simply listening to a wonderful Christmas song (Why I Like "Wonderful Christmastime")

Something happened between last year and this one. I don't know what the sociological shift was, but it made everyone decide they *hate* Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Chirstmastime." Maybe they already hated it, though. But it was this year it seemed those people decided to post about it on social media. At least once a week, a status would pop in my feed about hating the song. Even my beloved Simple Mom posted about it. It was as if my friends realized, "OK, YOLO (or some other Carpe Diem-esque statement), I can now admit that I don't like something one of The Beatles did without looking like an ignorant child saying I hate mommy and daddy's music generation."

To those people, all I can say is, "Come on! That's your least favorite Christmas song? Really? Of everything out there?"

I'm normally not so bold in my posts to prescribe a thought I believe all people should have, but here are five reasons "Wonderful Christmastime" is a good, nay, FANTASTIC song:

1. Sir Paul McCartney
Despite what critics may say, you can't deny that one man writing, producing, recording and playing everything you hear in the song isn't impressive. We're not talking a voice and a guitar, we're talking vocals, bass, guitar, keyboard, drums and percussion, according to the song's Wikipedia page. From those synthesized notes that begin and play throughout to the harmonies only a Beatle, a Beach Boy, a Simon or a Garfunkel could write.

Also, I am going to throw the parents' generation card in there: It's Paul Mc-freakin'-Carthy!

2. The lyrics
Some of my favorites:
We're here tonight, And that's enough
Paul's not setting the scene, expecting the perfect Christmas every Pinterest Mom is after. He's making a simple request for people to be with those they love and present in the moment. Not focused on decking the halls, what sale is going on, if they paid too much for an electronic device or if they're going to have enough time to bake all the cookies they intend to.

The best part of the song, but I'll get to that.

The feelin's here, That only comes, This time of year
Let's be honest, who hasn't felt more of an inclination to party around the holidays? It may even be why some people party a little too much around Christmas. There's something about holidays and letting down one's guard to overindulge in everything from food to drink to even overspending. Maybe it's the promise of resolutions in January to get us back on the right track, so why not stray? But I think what Paul Mc-charming-Carthy is saying is that inclination to have a good time is here, why not take advantage of it?

Lift a glass, Ah, don't look down
Basically, when we stand back and look at the crowds, we're not seeing holiday-like smiles. We're seeing, well, crowds. And the reactions to the crowds. But, when you're with friends, you can just enjoy your crowd, so why not toast to it?

3. Ear worm-ability
I can only surmise the reason so many of my friends are against the song is its infectious power to be heard at 9 a.m. and one still find finds themselves humming the familiar chorus at 4 p.m. One theory about ear worms is that people are who neurotic, tired or stressed are more susceptible to ear worms.

Hmm, it's December, a big holiday is coming -- with which the potential for family, screaming kids, crazy cleaning, cooking huge meals, traveling or a combination of all of them above. Who doesn't get a neurotic, tired and/or stressed? And here's Paul Mc-amazing-Carthy synthesizing the season and trying to force this saccarine-y tune down our throats!

Of course it'll get stuck in your head. Paul, if you're reading this, I don't think the song is saccarine-y, nor are you trying to shove anything down our throats -- I think you are lovely and I was hyperbolizing what I can only imagine is the thought process of those who don't enjoy your song, for whatever reason. I will admit I used to be among the haters. And somehow, it became an ear worm for me for a few days one year. Then something magical happened, almost like a Christmas miracle ...

4. The choreography
What's that you say? You didn't know there was a dance to go along with "Wonderful Christmastime?" Well, aren't you in luck for finding my blog so I can tell you all about it! First off, there isn't. There's only some motions to go along with the chorus that seems to repeat often in the song. And it's one I came up with when I was at the point of an ear worm where it consumed me and I heard it so many times in my head, I went a little nuts. I believe that's the key.

Something crossed in my brain to associated the chorus with body movement. I will try my best to break it down for you:

"We're Simp-" -- Sway left
"-ly" -- Sway right
"Hav-" -- Sway left
"-ing" -- Sway right
"a" -- Duck down
"Wonderful Christmastime" -- bounce up and down

It's so simple, as in "Simply dancing-to a wonderful Christmas song."

I didn't know cats dancing with headphones
on in a record store was a meme,
but apparently it is.

Look, if you do this dance to the chorus and don't end up in a better mood somehow, I can only assume you're some sort of Dickens character or completely done with Christmas and just focusing on getting to Dec. 26. Sometimes, my better mood with this song is just from wondering what the person in the car behind me is thinking when they see the driver in front of them bobbing up and down.

The choreography is what makes the song, I'm telling you.

5. It's temporary
Look, if my last four compelling arguments weren't enough to convince you "Wonderful Christmastime" isn't the worst Christmas song out there (yes, I'm looking at you, "Little Drummer Boy," "The Christmas Shoes," and "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"), just know by the time I post this, you'll have a few more days of hearing the synthesizer intro and quickly jamming your finger onto the radio buttons to change the station. Then, it'll be another 10 or 11 months until you have to fear accidentally hearing it again. It's not like how half of the stations (at least here in Connecticut) seem to have the same rotation of about 500 songs and, before the full album even comes out, you're sick of Miley Cyrus' or Jay Z's new songs. But that doesn't stop the radio stations from playing it at least once an hour it seems.

But, OK, if the computerized 1979 music is just too much for you, I present you with Straight No Chaser's version. A cappella, in my opinion, makes everything better.

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