I'm not saying Bing Crosby is a bad singer, but "White Christmas" is played out.
Seriously, just stop playing it. When I was a kid, I didn't like it because it's slow and, well, boring. It still hasn't grown on me as an adult.
Play The Waitress' "Christmas Wrappings," or Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald's version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," however, and I am guaranteed to get in the holiday frame of mind. Even Fitzgerald's take on "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" does the trick.
It wouldn't hurt if Otis Redding's soulful rendition of "Merry Christmas, Baby," The Temptation's Motown twist on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," or Jimmy Eat World's version of "Last Christmas" came on the radio more often.
I can't help it. I just prefer the less common Christmas tunes over the traditional ones. Perhaps, it's because these songs aren't being blasted through the malls' speakers every 10 minutes. Maybe, it's because I'm more of a rock person, than an easy listening guy. Bing Crosby just doesn't get me in the Christmas mindset, though. Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" is starting to reach that same level of over saturation.
The Smashing Pumpkin's "Christmas Time," which you rarely hear anyone play, does get me ready for the holiday, though.
Part of the problem is a lot of radio stations want to play Christmas songs from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. What makes this bad is the fact that the only songs they play are the traditionally boring ones.
Come on radio people, it's the 21st Century. It's time to get a little unconventional. It's time to get a little modern. What I mean is, play more songs that are younger than 50, and don't belong on easy listening stations.
As a Catholic, I get to hear traditional Christmas carols instead of traditional church music every Sunday from Christmas Eve until the Feast of the Epiphany in early January. Being that I am not a fan of traditional Christmas songs, I feel I get my weekly fill of Christmas carols at church. The least the radio people can do, is play something a little different during the rest of the week.
That means no "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," or "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" or "Oh Holy Night."
And definitely no "Sleigh Ride." Shivers go down my spine in a bad way when I just think of that song. It might have to do with memories of playing the song every year in high school band, though. When I think of "Sleigh Ride," I remember my senior year of high school, when the trumpet soloist, who did the horse sound at the end of the song, was sick and couldn't perform at the Christmas concert.
A French horn player did the solo instead. Oh Lord.
It sounded like a dying horse that needed to be put out of its misery. All that was missing was the sound of a farmer loading a shot gun to shoot the horse. When a Christmas song makes you think of sickness and death, it's a bad thing.
Whatever happened to playing John Lennon's "So This is Christmas"? You rarely hear it anymore, and that's a really good Christmas song. You still hear Paul McCartney's "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time," but no one ever plays "So This is Christmas." What's up with that?
And why isn't the Gladys Knight and the Pips version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" played more often? There is no excuse to play any other version of that song, actually. Gladys did the song more justice than anyone else, before or after, her version. You know how Whitney Houston did the definitive version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" back in 1991? Well, Gladys Knight and the Pips did the definitive version of "Do You Hear What I Hear."
If you asked me what I want for Christmas, I'd say a few more non-traditional Christmas songs over the next week. If that is possible, then I'd finally feel the holiday season is here.
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.