Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Musical Advent Calendar

"Thank God It's Christmas" /

And in the end, this is what it comes down to.
I could have posted about Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song" -- one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time, and a personal touchstone of mine. And I could have posted about Darlene Love's "Christmas Baby Please Come Home," which has so many holiday ramifications for me (David Letterman, Phil Spector, et cetera).
But nobody throws his heart on a stage like Freddie Mercury did, and in this 1984 holiday single -- written by Roger Taylor and Brian May -- Freddie flings it all out there, AND acknowledges that your Christmas may not be as perfect as the marketing folks make you think it should be.  
He's broadcasting to all who are connected to him -- his love, his friends -- and acknowledging the crap they've gone through in the past 12 months. (The Thatcher years, my friends -- need I say more?) "Oh my friends, it's been a long hard year." I love how the toggling chord changes underscore the back-and-forth of this frustrating year.
But now here comes Freddie, evolving into new (complicated) chords, and new keys: "And now it's Christmas / Yes it's Christmas, / Thank God it's Christmas." Surging upwards, in short broken lines that tell us that he knows he's hoping against hope. And that shiver of passion at the end -- so Freddie. Punching every note for emphasis, and like a diva breaking up "Christmas" into "Ka-rist-mas."  Because, when all is said and done, it is important to believe.  
Yeah, we live -- as he says -- in "troubled days." (You think 1984 was troubled? Just take a look at 2015.)  But, c'mon, it's just one day, and for just one day -- "Thank God it's Christmas."
It's a wail of despair, acknowledging all the angst that's gone before -- no denial here. And yet somehow the promise of better days is there too. The conviction in Freddie's voice buoys the song up and thrusts us into the new year. 
Let's go for it.  
And merry Christmas to you all....

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