Point/Counterpoint: Does the music kill Christmas?


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Christmas-musicHow the music killed Christmas

By A&E Editor: Madison Deadman

It’s only the very beginning of December and I am so beyond sick and tired of hearing bells jingling and the same campy rhythms and beats behind every song. It plays in every pharmacy, gas station, mall, convenience store, grocery store, and restaurant. There is no escape! I am actually thankful for once that my car radio does not work so I am not forced to listen to it anymore than I already have to. It seems as though my car is my only way out.

Christmas music should be enjoyable and nostalgic, bringing back memories of when we were children, baking cookies and putting up the tree. These once special melodies are being abused by being overplayed and are now far from music to my ears.

Call me Scrooge, but I would like to grace you with my Grinch-like reasoning.

Overkill

Every year we hear the same exact songs over and over again, especially the synthesized elevator-like music. There is nothing more repetitive, and yet, artists do not seem to write their own Christmas songs. They just continue to do covers of the ones that have been around for decades, even centuries!

There seems to be about a dozen actual Christmas songs and they are all redone and replayed in every conceivable format. There are not enough Christmas songs to fill up two whole months. Starting Nov. 1, every year (before Thanksgiving), it seems as though every radio station is taken over with “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer,” and Alvin and the Chipmunks singing…… If hearing those songs repeatedly for the next two months doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out, I don’t know what will. It makes people sick of Christmas so much that they want it to be over with by the time the holiday actually rolls around. If the radio stations and stores just held off on playing this music until after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, it would make December 25 much more special.

Mix it up

Most Christmas songs are in their own genre. There are the classics like “Sleigh Ride,” by Johnny Mathis and “Santa Baby,” By Eartha Kitt. There are also Pop versions of songs like Celine Dion’s version of “O’ Holy Night.”  There are even country Christmas songs which are much more story-based. “The Christmas Shoes,” by Newsong would be a prime example.

When was the last time you heard a rap Christmas song? They are definitely out there, just never get played on the radio. For example, “Chillin’ with Santa,” by Derek B. I guarantee you have never heard of it. These Christmas rap songs are something you have to dig deep through the internet for. Why not please everyone and play all genres of Christmas music? It would be refreshing to hear something hip and new. It was a nice change when Mariah Carey released her own original song, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” In the month of December there are rarely any albums released that are not Christmas-related. A larger array of music might make it a little more bearable.

‘Tis the season

Living in Michigan, we are all aware of the extensive amount of snow we receive every year. But not all Michiganders are snow lovers; some live here for the summer months and the abundance of lakes. These Great Lakes people are probably much bigger fans of the sunny seasons where they are able to be outside soaking up the sun, wearing their favorite swimwear. Once summer lovers are buried in ten inches of snow, the last thing want to do is hear, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” while they are clearing out their driveways. People who despise snow don’t want to hear songs that are praising the weather. These tunes are a constant onslaught of reminders to people who hate the season. “Hey, guess what? It’s winter, it’s cold, and you’re most likely going to ruin all your shoes!”

Cultural differences

People just assume everyone celebrates Christmas. So many people often forget that there are other religions. Despite the fact that it is the largest religion in the world, we should respect that there are other celebrations going on and not everyone agrees with these songs’ religious views. I know that not every song mentions Christmas, but there are only a few exceptions like “Let it Snow,” and “Happy Holidays.” Imagine being a person of Jewish ritual who does not celebrate Christmas and you go to turn the radio on to listen to some of your everyday music. It’s part of your everyday routine but once November hits you cannot escape hearing about receiving gifts from Santa Claus. I feel as though this scenario is a bit disconcerting.

Purpose

In the midst of all the holiday tracks, I think many of us lose track of the real purpose of Christmas. So many Christmas songs are about love and wishing for a certain someone on the special day. Some include Justin Bieber’s “Only Thing I Ever Get for Christmas,” and Britney Spears’ “My Only Wish this Year”.

History.com explains Christmas. “Both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millenniums, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.”

People often forget that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and instead get wrapped up in the commercial aspect of the holiday. Yes, we buy gifts for family and friends, but because it’s an act of love and acknowledgement, not selfishness. The music that the media has created has us confused and asking for material items when that is not what the holiday is about.

Listening to the same songs over and over that fail to recognize diversity, reminding everyone of the snow and slush we dread every year, ultimately causes us to neglect what Christmas is truly about.

So, when the ever-present songs of Christmas become unbearable, put in your headphones and listen to your own playlist, or whatever works for you to stop the music from killing Christmas.

Why holiday music is one of the best parts of the season

By Staff Writer: Rachel Cichon

At 12 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, I was both awake and listening to the radio, a pastime that should be pleasurable and that I generally enjoy. That night, however, I felt different. Listening to the overplayed top-forty hits was getting tedious and I was certain that if I heard “Cruise” one more time I would take a sledgehammer to my radio without regret. Then, at exactly midnight, during the very first second of Thanksgiving Day – the songs changed. Rihanna’s repetitive choruses and the shrill sound of Katy Perry’s auto tune were replaced with something magical. The music was suddenly jazzy, the tone became sweet and sentimental, and the songs felt full of festive cheer.

The onslaught of Christmas songs had begun – and I welcomed it the same way that young children welcome Santa Claus – with fierce exuberance and unrivaled joy. I am pleased to say that I spent the first minute of Thanksgiving trying to mimic the impressively low and rumbling voice of Burl Ives.

Unfortunately, many are discontent with Christmas songs. I find this about as depressing as a green Christmas or the part in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” when Rudolph leaves Yukon Cornelius and Hermey behind in order to keep them safe from the abominable snowman. There are so many reasons to love Christmas music and I’d like to shed some light on the subject in the hopes that you will have a Grinch-like transformation and learn to love the songs as I do. At the very least, accepting Christmas songs can make your life a lot easier this winter.

Christmas music is for everyone.

I think everybody has, at some time in their lives, experienced a conflict over which radio station to listen to. On family road trips your taste in hardcore rap may not be appreciated by your mother, and plenty of boys have suffered as a younger sister squealed along to Justin Bieber songs. I know I’ve had plenty of friends get into my car and look with disgust at the abundance of country stations I’ve programmed into my favorites. Christmas music dissolves the barrier between genres – it is something that everyone can enjoy, from your innocent baby siblings to your anti-rock-n-roll grandma.

Since I was young, my family’s conflicting musical tastes have always become one during this wonderful time of the year. The music is both appropriate and entertaining to any age and my parents and I bonded singing along to Burl Ives and Bing Crosby, debating about songs and their many versions and discussing which ones were our personal favorites.

It’s easier to handle the harsh weather.

There are two types of people in this world, those who love the winter and those who hate it. As much as I adore Christmas, I despise the weather conditions of the season. Some of my favorite things in the world include warmth, dresses and greenery. Since this is Michigan, those luxuries are extinct during the winter. Snow may be pretty, but I’m not sure if it’s worth ruining my shoes, having to take the bus because my car doesn’t have four-wheel drive and can’t get up the driveway in the morning, or spending the day in complete discomfort because snow got into my socks and melted.

Despite these complaints, Christmas music has never failed to brighten my spirits about the weather. The cozy lyrics and catchy tune of “Let it Snow” always gets me to forget about my woes – at least until the next time I leave the warmth of my home. “Baby, its Cold Outside” fills me with optimism that the freezing temperature could lead to a sweet gentleman insisting on my company. Enjoying these positive songs can melt the icy heart of any Michigander burdened with a distaste of winter.

It’s a great change of pace.

By this time of the year, I think a lot of people are getting sick of summer blockbusters; I certainly am. The loud party songs are perfect for summer, but they don’t fit the serenity of falling snow and drinking cocoa by the fire. I love country music as much as anyone, but during the winter, when it is not even close to sunny and seventy-five, it can be a bit out-of-place. If anything related to summer even comes on the radio, I change to another station faster than students drive around the parking lot at Howell High.

Christmas songs are a great way to make the transition into a new year of fresh music or at least take a break from your usual favorites. Radio stations get boring when they play the same tunes all the time and I think it’s a wonderful experience to get a playlist change for a few months. Then, once the season is over, your old jam will come on and you will have that great feeling of nostalgia.

It’s a great way to ring in the season.

Christmas can be a pretty momentous time for anyone who celebrates it. There can be a lot of stress picking out gifts for your friends and family, hassling over wrapping them, and finding the perfect spot to hide them. Burning questions fill your mind, such as when is it appropriate to put up your tree? Or turn on your Christmas lights? Or, “hang up the prettiest sight to see, the holly that will be on your own front door?”

Christmas music is both a guideline for figuring out when it is appropriate to launce into Christmas fever and for getting you motivated for the upcoming holiday. If you’re like me and consider shopping for presents such a taxing chore that you procrastinate until the stores are bare, you’ll find it pretty helpful to have the radio giving you constant reminders of what you have to do before the 25th. Christmas stations are like to-do lists that you can’t lose.

There is a lot of variety.

A common complaint about Christmas music is that it’s repetitive, and that the same songs play again and again. To me, that sounds like any radio station during any season; just last week I listened to “Counting Stars” and immediately afterwards changed the station only to hear it come on again. If anything, I think Christmas songs offer a wide variety.

Some Christmas songs are slow, some are soft. Some are traditional classics, some are trendy and modern. There are religious songs and children’s songs. The music can go from the dramatic “Little Drummer Boy” to the Alvin and the Chipmunks classic “Christmas, Don’t Be Late”. The holiday genre has music at each end of the spectrum and endless differences.

Although additions to holiday music are less frequent than in other genres, celebrities are constantly making their own versions of songs. There are countless CD’s in which pop, country and even rock stars have added their own unique twists to songs. If the songs on the radio, which are mostly (but not always) traditional versions don’t suit your taste, you should check out other Christmas albums and see if those might be more appealing to you. I can confirm that these versions can be great. Rascal Flatts recently performed “Jingle Bell Rock” on the country Christmas special, and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with the original again.

Overall, there are an abundance of great reasons to listen and love Christmas songs. For me, they make the weather bearable, offer a much-needed change of radio music, and give my family and I a great way to bond. The music is without a doubt one of my favorite parts about the holiday season that I look forward to each year. Even if Christmas music isn’t your thing, there is no avoiding it, and the best way to cope may be to simply accept it.

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