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Same Old Lang Syne: YOU be the judge! [Dec. 24th, 2010|04:20 pm]
A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
[music |I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas]

I've got a new favorite shitty Christmas song.

Those of you who know me well probably know that before this year, my favorite shitty Christmas song was the confoundingly awful, inspired-by-a-mass-email, Christian ballad "The Christmas Shoes" by the awkwardly named NewSong. "The Christmas Shoes" has been in heavy rotation on the radio for a few years now but back in 2006 when the tune was still emerging from the ether from whence bad music comes in, I wrote a pretty thorough appraisal of the song, which can be found here if you're interested.

That blog post is one of the reasons why this bit from comedian Patton Oswalt makes me so very happy!

I won't take much reading for someone to realize I don't think very much of my skills as a writer OR thinker... but I've always admired Oswalt's hilarious take-downs of junk culture. If you did go and read my piddly journal entry from three years ago and then watch that YouTube video, you probably notice there are a lot of similarities. I know it's stupid, but it makes me sort of proud that I could come to a lot of the same comedic conclusions as one of my favorite performers completely independent of him. That's probably stupid, but whatever.

That being said, The Christmas Shoes is my OLD favorite shitty Christmas song. I have a new one. This song is one that I didn't hear much before last year; possibly it's been in heavy rotation on your easy listening Christmas radio station for years but I've only come across it in the past few weeks.

I cannot believe that this song is even considered a Christmas song, as it doesn't seem to have a fucking THING to do with the holidays beyond it's first verse, and only in a passing reference.

New new favorite shitty Christmas song is Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne"

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Chris, isn't Old Lang Syne pretty famously sung every New Year's?" Yes, you're right. I'll grant you that... if you grant me the fact that this song has NOTHING to do with that song until the cheesy, tacked-on saxophone solo at the end. Here look; I'll post a YouTube video of the song and, behind the cut, the lyrics (with some addendums from myself). You be the judge.

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve

I would like to point out that THIS is the only direct reference to Christmas in the entire song. That's it. Some yutz as Lite 102.5 (the best easy listening of the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, and TODAY!) heard the first two lines and was like "Put that goddamn song in heavy rotation NOW!"

I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

Yes, you read that correctly, this big heartfelt Christmas song begins in front of a case of frozen peas at the A&P. What wonderful holiday magic awaits us further on??!?!

She didn't recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried

I would like you to take a moment and imagine this scene. You're walking down the frozen foods section of your grocery store to pick up a frozen pizza and you happen on two escapees from the local asylum laughing and crying like maniacs. Happy Christmas!

We took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totaled up and bagged

This is the only Christmas song that has a line in it about bagging your groceries. If you can find another, please let me know about it.

We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn't find an open bar
We bought a six pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car

Guzzling a warm beer in the back of your ex-girlfriend's car on Christmas Eve. Seasons Greetings!

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

She said she'd married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would've liked to said she loved the man
But she didn't like to lie

I'm no Dr. Phil, Random Lady In The Frozen Foods Section, but maybe your relationship would be on firmer ground if you didn't, at the first opportunity, sneak off into the back of your Dodge Impala with sixer of Milwaukee's Best with any musician who accosts you in the middle of the frozen foods aisle?

I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn't sure if I
Saw doubt or gratitude

She said she saw me in the record store
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was hell

Dan Fogelberg knows how to butter up his fans, yessiree.


The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home

At this point, the tempo starts to slowwww down as Fogelberg reaches this last line...

The snow turned into rain.

ZING! At this point, the jazzy "Auld Lang Syne" kicks in, which I guess is the thing that makes this a song that the deejays at EZ 98.4 feel deems it a holiday song.

...and here's the song... and I think you'll agree, it's just perfect that the lyrics are presented in Comic Sans:

In all honestly, I do get why "Same Auld Lang Syne" has clawed its way into the world of holiday music. Somber Christmas songs are pretty much the norm when it comes to modern carols and certainly some of my favorites have either a bitter note to them (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas) or at least, a downbeat note to them (The Christmas Song is certainly not a super happy sounding song, although it deals with comforting holiday things). "Same Auld Lang Syne" just feels so canned and corny to me that I can't let it get past my Yuletide bullshit detector, which admittedly is formidable.

At any rate, Happy Holidays!