Friday, December 02, 2005

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Every radio market in the US has a station that in the months prior to Christmas begins playing Christmas music 24/7, sandwiched between ads for expensive appliances and jewelry as the major target audience for these stations are women, who are the ones who do most of the holiday shopping. Not to generalize and say that all women do this; nor would I say that no men are guilty of being shopaholics, it's just the majority seem to women.
At work, we have a communal radio, usually tuned to the classic rock station as I enjoy the morning show Kevin Matthews. The hag who works across from me (there are other terms I could use, such as bitch, which has become a badge of honor to some, to other words better suited the Ron Nasty Memeorial Page that are not suited for this forum)complained that she wanted to listen to Christmas music, which, when I'm at work, is as depressing as it can get.
But what's even more depressing is some of the Christmas music. I like the old carols, as long as no one tries to "modernize" them (today, I heard a medley of traditional carols set to disco beat, perfect for shoppercizing to). Some of the old versions of holiday classics by Mel Torme, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and the like I can stand, but when i hear five different versions of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", I wonder, do we really need them? I mean, does the world really need a Kenny G Christmas CD?
I have quite a collection of Christmas music myself, when I was married, my wife downloaded LimeWire on her computer (go after her RIAA, not me)and I would spend the evenings downloading all kinds of Christmas music in a quest to make the perfect Christmas tape to listen to on the inevitable trip to my in-laws on Christmas. But what i have is more varied featuring songs like "Christams In Prison" by John Prine or (get ready for it) "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)" by the Ramones that would never get played on any Christmas music radio station.
But one of my favorite downloads is a Christmas song that gets a lot of airplay with a lot of people missing the point of the whole song. That song is "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It's as much an antiwar song as much as it is a Christmas song, if not more. The song came on the radio today and the Fox watching Bush hugging Christmas music loving hag was singing along with the words she knew, oblivious to the message of the song, which is as relevant now as when it was written during the Vietnam war."War is over, if you want it". That the local station is part of Clear Channel (which tried to ban Lennon's "Imagine" following 9/11) which is owned by a Bush supporter makes it somewhat ironic that they would play such a song.

2 comments:

gl said...

Lew,
I hate the way every artist (if you can call them all that) has to make the obligatory Christmas album. I generally hate them all, I like the classics, the well done versions...but really, Amy Grant and her ilk make me want to scream.
Now I loved limewire too before paranoia shut me down. I loved to download the unusual stuff. Some really beautiful stuff: Charlotte Church, Belle and Sebastian... (yeah, they do a pretty song)
I hate shopping so I am with you on that. Always funny when warhawks enjoy John Lennon.
Speaking of John Prine, is he the one who sang the duet with Iris DeMent on the last episode of Northern Exposure? Our Town?
Not that I am expecting you to know this. I could probably google the lyrics and find out...
What was on your last perfect Christmas cd?

Lew Scannon said...

I don't know, never watched "Northern Exposure". John Prine also wrote "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore", a wonderful VietNam era protest song that is still relevant today.
About Limewire, I would use it to donload artists i had heard about, but had never been able to hear because of the self-imposed restrictions that radio has placed on new artists. then if I liked what i heard, I went out and bought the CD (The White Stripes were one that got no airplay until Elephant.) While also exploring older artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Rodgers and the Mills Brothers that I couldn't hear on any radio. I really expanded my musical horizons, it's a shame that it couldn't be used as a marketing tool for record companies looking for exposure for new artists