26 Nov

Rinse, Repeat

No I'm not the Grinch.

Our radio dial is practically glued to Christmas music after Thanksgiving. The kids enjoy it, and it's a nice break from the normal stuff we listen to. I listened to it growing up, and I still do. However, Christmas music shares one major characteristic with your favorite "top hits" radio station -- a lack of variety. And I don't mean that they play the same exact song by the same exact artist. Confused?

I mean, how many times do I have to hear Jingle Bell Rock? Not just by Bobby Helms, but also Hall & Oates, Amy Grant, et al. I think there's like 500 versions out there (ok, Wikipedia says around 60) and a number of them are played on the radio.

Here's what seems like the playlist I've heard recently (slight exaggeration to illustrate a point):

We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms)
The Christmas Song (Choose your favorite artist's rendition)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Traditional, I forget who originally sang it)
Jingle Bell Rock (Hall & Oates)
The Christmas Song (Choose an artist you dispise, they probably sing this one too)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (horrible version by Mellencamp)
(and then for "variety", let's throw in a...)
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch

It's common for people to get tired of Christmas music by the time Christmas actually arrives, because they start playing the music around Halloween. For me, it's almost to the point where I have to stream the music online because every year, I'm reminded of how little variety there is over the local airwaves. I argue that part of the reason people get sick of it is for the type of playlist illustrated above. It's not really variety if you're hearing the same lyrics every hour, even though it's sung by someone else.

It's fine to throw in new version of songs every year, but where are the original songs? Where are the "I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas"? The "Christmas In Your Eyes" (Gloria Estefan)? The "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (Mariah Carey)? No, we're stuck listening to yet another version of "O Holy Night", this time by Josh Gropin' (sorry, Groban)

To me, you might as well just play the same version of the song that you played before, because it's all the same. (and yes, those stupid versions recorded by American Idol contests where it's more about throwing your voice around trying to hit every note possible in 10 seconds than actually singing the song)

Have we lost all ability to write our own songs?

Categories: Gripe