ONCE upon a time there lived a girl who loved Christmas songs. She loved them so much that she even, privately — when no one was around to judge her — listened to them when it wasn’t even Christmas. That girl was (is) me!
FATHER CHRISTMAS and *BETTER THINGS The Kinks
I’ve written about these songs and my relationship with them at length in the past. Suffice it to say that BETTER THINGS is very much the anti-FATHER CHRISTMAS! Where FATHER CHRISTMAS is loud and snarky, BETTER THINGS is quiet and hopeful. It’s tone notwithstanding, FATHER CHRISTMAS has earned its place in the canon. As to BETTER THINGS? Well, it’s just downright beautiful.
For a treat, I’ve included a link to Pearl Jam’s BETTER THINGS cover — it’s live, it’s Eddie Vedder. What more do you want?
BETTER DAYS The Goo Goo Dolls
In this song, Johnny Rzeznik and the boys ask that we worry less about “boxes wrapped in string” and, instead, embrace the universal message of forgiveness and peace. It’s nice. It’s pretty. It’s musically interesting — Rzeznik’s voice lends itself well to the arrangement.
CHRISTMAS WRAPPING The Waitresses
This is a song about a guy and a girl who spend all year missing their connections with each other. Finally, on Christmas Eve their story has a happy ending at, of all places, the A&P. It’s just a fun song from an equally fun 80’s New Wave band. (The other song you may know by them? I KNOW WHAT BOYS LIKE)
SAME OLD LANG SYNE Dan Fogelberg
From the first lightly struck piano notes and the plaintive timbre of Fogelberg’s voice — this song grabs you. When he reaches the chorus, when the harmonies kick in, it’s just so, well, melodious. Lyrically, the song tells the story of running into an old lover in the grocery store on Christmas Eve, catching up, feeling “that old familiar pain” of the what might have been, knowing right along with the narrator that it’s too late for them. For my money, there’s nothing like the saxophone solo at the end to underscore the sadness of the piece.
NOTE: In the beginning of this video is a letter that Dan Fogelberg wrote about the origins of the song!
THIS IS A BLOG HOP >>>> Thanks, once again, to Jen over at My Skewed View for hosting!
Here’s how it works. Find your own fab five songs that fit the category, write a post, and link-up below where it tells you to! This is the perfect week to join in the fun. I mean, come on, who doesn’t know five Christmas songs? (I don’t care if you’re Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Whatever — I guarantee you that you know five Christmas songs, for crying out loud!)
Go ahead, HOP ON IN!
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*BETTER THINGS may not officially be a Christmas song, but I’ve always thought of it this way.
NOTES ON THE MUSICAL SELECTIONS:
FATHER CHRISTMAS, The Kinks, 1977 (released as a single, but also appears on the the 1986 “greatest hits” compilation Come Dancing with The Kinks). Written by Ray Davies.
BETTER THINGS, The Kinks, 1981 (released as a single, but also appears on their 1981-2 album Give the People What They Want). Written by Ray Davies.
BETTER DAYS, The Goo Goo Dolls, 2005 (from the album Let Love In). Written by John Rzeznik.
CHRISTMAS WRAPPING, The Waitresses, 1981 (from the album A Christmas Record). Written by Chris Butler.
SAME OLD LANG SYNE, Dan Fogelberg, 1980 (released as a single, but also appears on the 1981 album The Innocent Age). Written by Dan Fogelberg.