Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Musical Advent Calendar

"Santa Baby" / Maria Muldaur

Wait -- only ten more shopping days until Christmas? Yikes!  (And when I say ten more shopping days, I really mean seven more business days, which is what matters when you do most of your shopping on line, as I do.)

I know I said no more snarky anti-holiday numbers, but honestly, this sexy wish list for the Man in Red hasn't a bit of snark to it. Commercial? Materialistic? You bet. But this naughty/nice babe is perfectly willing to play nice so long as she gets what she wants. 

So whose version of this holiday standard do we pick?  Is it Eartha Kitt's 1953 original, delivered in her best kittenish purr? Madonna's coy Betty Boop version? Kylie Minogue's campy diva turn? Ariana Grande's melismatic overload? Taylor Swift's teenybopper yodel?

Really, as far as I'm concerned, it's no contest -- not when you've got Maria Muldaur in the wings.

Maria, after all, is an old hand at issuing sexy invitations, as her 1973 hit "Midnight at the Oasis" attests. ("Let's slip off to a sand dune / Real soon / And kick up a little dust.") It's all in the innuendo.

Which is the whole point of this tongue-in-cheek song. Our singer -- think of her as a 1950s precursor of the Kardashians -- has a Christmas list all right, and it's strictly high-end: furs, cars, jewelry, and maybe a little pied a terre? But the song is a brilliant melding of melodic form and function -- all those curling little melodic lines, crooking a sexy finger at Santa.

It reminds me of this annoying lingerie commercial that plays heavily during football games (guess why?), with a dewy model in a scarlet satin teddy licking her moist full lips, swiveling to show off her perfect breasts. The message is so clear: "Buy me what I want and I will let you fuck me." (Which is different from, "I will fuck you.") But in Maria's teasing version, that blatant message is given a knowing (wink-wink) spin.

"Think of all the fun I've missed," she cajoles, "Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed / Next year I could be just as good / If you'd check off my Christmas list..."  And Maria's contralto massages those lines, amping up the subtext, letting us all know that she's ready to deliver.

Camp? You got it. And I love it. 

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