Can we stop the Cavalry?

Christmas is upon us once again, a time for giving and sharing, listening to truly woeful music, and of course a time to contend with a handful of Christmas classics and X Factor hopefuls.

Many may ask why? Why is there so much sentimentality surrounding “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “The Little Drummer Boy”?

Do these songs contribute to our end of year reflection or persuade our choices when it comes to New Year’s resolutions? No, not these, but maybe something along the lines of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” or Live Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is enough to redeem this hallowed genre. Unfortunately requests for charitable aid from millionaire musicians are now becoming a bit too much to stomach for some people.

Charity remains a cornerstone of Christmas, the same goes for war, so it seems logical to presume that there shouldn’t be any shortage of Christmas releases, this year of all years. Instead, though, The Vengaboys, Peter Andre and Kristen Bell are releasing songs that can be best described as completely beside any point anywhere.

The problem is that finding real, heartfelt Christmas songs is hard. Christmas is a time of year, not an emotion that you can latch on to given the right lyrics. Is there a way to communicate the essence of Christmas or is it all about relevance?

Take The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” or Jona Lewie’s “Stop the Cavalry”, their success seems to stem from the way in which the time of year is presented. Christmas stands out as an impediment, a reminder in times of trouble of all that has been lost or regretted.

Christmas songs have a way of getting under the skin, of worming their way into our way of thinking once the first 11 months of the year are through. As soon as November comes the shops are decked out with decorations, while Wizzard or Slade belt out of the speakers like some uninvited reminder of all our commercial obligations.

Impatience is usually the first reaction, but give it a few weeks until you’re having a particularly stressful day or when the rain is pelting down and the wind has its hands around your throat and then, finally, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit.

From this it seems like Christmas as an idea is summed up perfectly in comfort. The lyrics might mean something but it’s the memory of the sound of certain songs that hits first. Romanticism wins the day while all the realists in the world are classified as humbugs.

So perhaps it’s time for the humbugs to band together to protest this continuing tragedy. The market is ripe for a song tackling the contentious, but fair, issue of complete and utter boredom that this season brings about.

Bryan Grogan

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