Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Musical Advent Calendar

"Thank God It's Christmas" /

Instead of a glitter-spangled scene with doors for every day of December, how about a daily treat from my iTunes holiday playlist?

Amid all the tacky extravagant sentiment of holiday pop music, count on Freddie Mercury to pull out all the stops.

"Oh, my love," he emotes mournfully, "We've had our share of tears."  Not the most upbeat opening, and he follows it up with a wistful, "Oh, my friends / We've had our hopes and fears." Key shift up, volume raised, he adds, "Oh, my friends / It's been a long hard year."  Amen to that, brother.

And then, in anthemic Queen fashion (you knew this was coming), he belts out, "Thank God it's Christmas / Yes it's Christmas / Thank. God. It's. CH-RRISTMAS."  Clinging to it like a man on a sinking ship.

He trots out all the pop song tinsel -- the stars, the snow, the synths, the background chorus -- but I love the way he goes for broke here. Why not throw all your hopes on this one day?  (Or even -- as he suggests in the bridge -- make it be Christmas every day?)  Like all great divas, he knew that passion can in fact go hand in hand with over-the-top production -- if you truly believe.

In the third verse, he laments, "Oh my love / We live in troubled days / Oh my friends / We have the strangest ways."  This song was written in 1984, but here we are, thirty years later, and we're still living in troubled time with strange ways. You'd think mankind would have wised up by now. But apparently not -- which is why we still need Christmas.

No comments: