Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Evening Music: Christmas Carols To Avoid

When I was living in Lawton, Oklahoma - over a decade ago - I got a job selling eyewear in the mall.

The mall was not the only significant feature of the town of Lawton; but, well... we're talking about a town that effectively tripled its population (on paper) by annexing the local Army base, Fort Sill. We're talking about an area where they occasionally bused students in from the surrounding communities so that they could see what a mall looked like. It wasn't, in other words, a town with a lot going for it.*

Anyway, the mall started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. I have ranted before, in various places, about the fact that there are only about two dozen actual Christmas carols in existence, which is ridiculous given how many Christmas albums get recorded each year. Even relatively new Christmas songs seem compelled to borrow melodies from existing ones; and having hundreds of different musicians produce their own versions and arrangements doesn't even begin to make up for this fundamental lack of variety.

The mall, as I said, started playing Christmas music right after Halloween. Those of us working there had to put up with an unbroken stream of Christmas carols for nearly two full months.This is a bad situation, and Lawton - being Lawton - made it worse. You see, the mall only owned two CDs of Christmas music. Two. That's all. Playing maybe - maybe - ten songs apiece, in random order, for two solid months. This alone should violate some sort of Geneva convention, but I'm not done yet. Oh, no. It gets worse.

You see, each CD had a version of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." I don't care who sings it, or how it's arranged musically - and neither of these versions was the least inspired on either account - this is one of the stupidest, most annoying songs ever composed. It's horrible, execrable, irredeemable. And we heard it, over and over and over and... Gah. Just thinking about it makes me want to fetch a whetstone and prepare for a homicidal, axe-wielding frenzy.

Once we even got to hear both versions, back to back. Gah! No sane and loving god would permit such things to happen. Ia! Cthulhu ftaugn! Blood!

...Ahem. Pardon that. I'm just going to go... wash up... and maybe burn these clothes... and wipe the fingerprints off the axe handle. I'll, uh, I'll be right back.

* This may reflect my bias rather than consensus reality. I have few fond memories of Lawton, but a lot of that has to do with it being the setting for a rather difficult time in my life, rather than the town itself (necessarily). This was also some time ago, so things might have changed since then.


  1. I do not live in Lawton, but I know where it is. I think that I might not like Christmas music after I heard it over and over again for two months and the same 10 songs or so. So you have a case of PTSD due to that I suppose.

  2. PTSD isn't a bad description of it, actually. A couple of years ago, I put together a CD of Christmas music that I actually liked, as a form of therapy. Worked pretty well, actually. Well, that and leaving the radio off.


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