Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby Boomer Santa

Abbie Hilton linked to a graphic about how Christmas is aging on Facebook the other day.

It took me a while to figure out what it was all about, but when I finally deigned to actually read the information on the graphic, I saw that it was trying to tell me that all the Christmas songs that they played on the radio for the last ten years were written in the forties and fifties, and that we were only trying to recreate the Christmasses that baby boomers experienced. That would probably be just fine according to Pierce.

But it gave me pause. Is Christmas getting old? Is it something that's already on its way out? When I'm old, will it be looked on as passe, uncool, stupid, imperialist, racist, or something like that?

I can see the point a little bit. If you look at the decorations that people put out, they definitely strive for that chintzy, fifties vibe a lot. Tinsel is definitely a fifties thing. I drove down the main street of a local town, and they had tinsel drapes stretched over the road. When you mixed that with the old-time look of their main street, I felt like I was driving into a movie screen that was showing A Christmas Story (one of my favorite Christmas films of all time, and heavily reminiscent on fifties nostalgia).

But I feel like rebelling against this idea. I love Christmas, and I don't want it to go away. I think it probably won't anytime soon. I've noticed that recently, Christmas songs from later eras are starting to be remade and played on the radio in place of some of the older ones. "Last Christmas" by Wham has had at least four remakes in the past year or two. I think the real explanation behind this is that music artists want to remake the songs they loved as children when they make their Christmas albums. So, it drags twenty or thirty years behind.

The other day, I noticed that was doing their 25 Days of Free songs again. They've done it every year since they opened their MP3 store. I always check them out, because, well, I like Christmas music, especially free stuff. I noticed that December 9th's song was a Duke Ellington song. I love big band jazz, so I downloaded it only to discover that it was actually a DJ named Robbie Hardkiss's remix of the Duke Ellington song. I expected not to like it, but I tried it out. I was actually surprised that I in fact, did like it. Maybe it was Abbie's pronouncement of the aging of Christmas that influenced me, but I really liked the modern spin put on the classic song. It sounded to me like an old Soul Coughing song, just minus Mike Doughty's awesome lyrics.

Couldn't find a version of it on YouTube, so here's another song from the album that's pretty cool as well.

Now, maybe it just confirms her comment, after all, Jingle Bells is not a new song (nor are any of the other songs on the album), but this remix seems to deny that whole idea completely to me. If we can groove to Christmas music on a club's dance floor, as well as rock around the Christmas tree, and sing of the first noel too, then I think what Christmas really is, is timeless.

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