I was listening to the radio last week or so and a delightful, heartwarming story came on. The host was asking folks when the Christmas season starts for them. Some said the day after Thanksgiving, others the first of December. Those in retail think it starts in early October when the lighted trees arrive and are set up. Others base the season starting when they see a certain movie or hear a specific song. It was so sweet I almost barfed and went into a diabetic coma. I bet I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably thinking, “Mr. Ohh!, Why the heck are you listening to the radio again? You know what happened the last time. We don’t need you spray painting any more cats and dumping lemon juice on alpacas again. Now, do we?” Okay, that’s probably true. But those of you who don’t know me are more likely thinking, “Mr. Ohh!, what starts the holiday season for you?” Well, for me it’s the day I have to change the radio station in my car. You see, after ten-plus months of my favorite genre’ of music, my favorite station starts playing only holiday favorites, so I switch over to my backup, to maintain what’s left of my sanity.
What’s really amazing is in my radio market, we have two stations that go all Christmas sometime in the middle of November, and all the other stations start advertising the Christmas-only stations as well as the online ones. That’s way too much. Yes, I like Holiday favorites. Only not to the exclusion of all other forms of music. Please send my apologies to Michael Buble’ and Harry Conick Jr. I realize their careers are based entirely on these stations.
The real issue isn’t Holiday songs all the time. The issue is the repetition. Did you know there at nineteen recordings of Do You Hear What I Hear? And every station has all of them on the playlist in rotation. So, you are guaranteed to hear some form of it every time you turn on the radio. Also think about this, the average number of songs per hour on popular radio is ten to twelve. Consequently, in the normal Christmas play list you could have Do You Hear What I Hear blasted into your ears for two hours straight without repeating a singer. Yes, I hear what you hear, and it’s not what I want to hear. Hey Night Wind, tell that to the Little Lamb or the program director to play something else.
Thing is, that’s not the worst one. It’s been banned from many stations of course, but Baby it’s Cold Outside has even more versions. Thanks to the ban, of course, it’s only played two times an hour instead of four. I think my head’s going to explode, because I actually like several versions of both those songs, just not over and over and over again.
Trouble is there are so many other songs, that get very little airplay. You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, come immediately to mind. But NOOOOO! Those are considered ‘novelty’ songs. Somewhere in the annals of radio, the mysterious They have deemed novelty songs unfit for the mass market. These musical masterpieces must only be played one every two hours. Which translates roughly to one every three Rudolphs, four Santa Is Coming To Towns, six Do You Hears, and nine Baby It’s Cold Outsides. Thank goodness for the ban. Without it, it would be twelve Babys. And speaking of babies, there are three popular versions of Santa Baby. With novelty songs being reproduced like this, Grandma ain’t being Run Over by any Reindeer, anytime soon.
I do have to give some kudos to Mariah Carey. She at least came out with a new song in 1994. Yes, All I Want For Christmas Is You, is a great song but it’s twenty-four years old. My kids are younger than that. They have never lived in a world with out it. Just as I have seen the world without The Chipmunk Song. (Somebody, give that kid a hoola-hoop for gosh sakes.)
Remembering you can’t get any ‘You’ at Wal-Mart. Commercialism kicked in. So now, there area bunch of variations on that theme. Now there are several songs wanting Santa to bring the mythical ‘You’ to some persons house, or asking the ‘You’ to stop by on their own. This has got to be tough on the elves. How do you build a ‘You’ in a toy shop? Worse, If Santa’s got a bag full of ‘You’s’ how is he supposed to keep them straight? I mean you can give out a certain firetruck to a bunch of kids, but those ‘You’s’ are pretty specific to where they’ve got to go. Now, where was I? Oh Yes, right here.
I have discussed multiples and I’ve discussed novelties, so here comes the biggie. The 12 Days Of Christmas. This song is the absolute worst. Not because it is itself bad. A bit monotonous sure, but not horrible. It’s the worst because every first, second and third-rate anybody parodies it. I looked through a few of my own recordings and found over a dozen in my possession. These do not include any of the “video game” ones, the “football team” ones, or the “My butt is itchy so I’ll make some creepy parody song” ones. The thing I don’t understand is, how can they ban Baby It’s Cold Outside and keep the Twelve Days Of a Middle Earth Christmas on the radio?
I used to feel sorry for those poor people in retail, having to listen to Holiday music for such a long time. When I did my stint in retail electronics, the boss had a standing promise. The person with the best sales numbers was allowed to destroy the holiday music CD on Christmas eve. And we competed for the right to do it. These days there’s no CD to break. It’s all over the radio whether we want it or not. What’s really scary is people who don’t have to listen to it, but do anyway, as it slowly rots their senses. I suspect zombies are running those holiday stations and the music is all part of some dastardly brain-tenderizing plot.
Then when December twenty-sixth comes, it all disappears. Like it never happened. I change the radio back to my regular station and we’re done. The snow crunches the same but there are no sleigh rides, jingle bells, or winter wonderlands. It’ all gone in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but the cold and there is certainly a lot of that. Oh baby, it certainly is cold outside.
The way Christmas vanishes on the day after is really scarier than Halloween. Maybe that’s why the season starts two weeks before October thirty-first? HMMMMMM?