Hey, girl -- you there, in the reindeer sweater -- I need an object lesson. Come over here and dance up on me while I write this Christmas music-related blog entry. See, Justin Bieber and Boyz II Men have just recorded a new Christmas song, "Fa La La," and, uh, it's kind of about Christmas. It's kind of also about slow-jamming with Justin Bieber and Boyz II Men.
Below: Watch a deeply inappropriate Under Armour commercial (and then a deeply inappropriate music video for "Fa La La" and then decide what other mixed signals you'd like to send with your Christmas playlist.
Christmas and Romance Songs
Message: I'd like to get with you, but all the other people at this party are expecting Christmas music.
This is, of course, a rich vein in American pop music, from Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and the more aggressive (and vaguely threatening) "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to 2 Live Crew's "Slut Banging (It's Christmas Time)," which I unfortunately just made up.
But the fundamental contradiction of all slow-jamz is on display here: I count no fewer than three Men and one Boyz all singing for the same girl's yuletide affections. For 2 Live Crew this was probably not an issue, but Justin Bieber and the remaining Boyz II Men men strike me as somewhat less likely to be into wild group sex than Luke Skyywalker and Fresh Kid Ice. (I am, in this way, a fine judge of character.)
The only solution I see is a Christmas-tinged four-way cover of "The Girl Is Mine."
Christmas Is Happy (Here's A Sad Song About It) Songs
Message: Christmas is a time for being happy with what you have, mostly through the suffering of somebody much worse-off than you.
This strikes me the same way as Justin Bieber giving me bunk-bedroom eyes in the middle of a song that is ostensibly about decking halls and donning apparel--understanding the suffering others is one of those human-decency things I like, and so is being happy with what you have, but combining them in a way that's both extremely depressing and weirdly exploitive only gets me in the Christmas spirit inasmuch as I can understand the suffering of whoever it was tasked with coming up with another story about a harried businessman who doesn't understand Christmas on account of how much he looks like Rob Lowe saying I'm too busy! For Christmas!
Christmas Novelty Songs
Message: You're ruining this for me.
Look, I know the constitution as well as anybody else--you're welcome to enjoy "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" on your own time, in the privacy of your own home. What you do there isn't the government's business, even if it involves running over your own grandmother with reindeer (this is not legal advice.)
But by playing this song in public, you remind people that one of the most unbearable songs ever to be dubbed to a cassette is also one of most unavoidable Christmas songs this side of your local mall.
Then, maybe years later, when one of those people says, "Dan, what do you think about Christmas music?" and I don't say, "It's the worst thing that's ever happened to me," they don't think about The Only True Christmas Album, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters' Merry Christmas. They think about this. And Christmas is ruined for everybody, except whoever collects royalties for the New Kids On The Block's "Funky Funky Christmas" (I hope it's the shy one.)