Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent Calendar: Day 20

December 20th: Sad Young Men

After the frankly horrible levity of yesterday's comedy tracks, we take an abrupt bipolar crash into today's melancholy assortment -- a little clutch of sad young men to bring us a well-earned few minutes of narcissistic gloom. Yes, dears, it's Merry Christmas meets The Myth of Sisyphus, with the emphasis very much on the 'sissy' there.

First up is Conor Oberst, who leads us through a typically verge-of-tears 'Little Town of Bethlehem' -- to which the customary American tune, with its fantastically mawkish melody line (anticipating by 70-odd years Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas', which borrows its characteristic step down from major to minor third and back up again), is eminently suited. Actually not even Oberst can bring himself to sing the semitone. Sure, you can have his lunch money, but the semitone would really take this whole confection beyond the pale. Bit of musical saw, though, eh.

Back in time next for the Orioles' classic '(It's Going To Be A) Lonely Christmas' -- love those festive brackets, like a brace of cheap tree ornaments. This isn't the original recording from 1948, which it turns out I don't have (thought I did); I think this is the 1962 re-recording, though someone might be able to correct me on that score. It's not as good as the original but it's more frail, which seems apt for today's window. (I originally typed "apt for today's widow", which is presumably also true.) The Orioles are a group who will always be a little elevated above the crowd for me simply because they get namechecked in my wayyyy favourite Paul Simon song, "Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War"

...Anyone still here?

In this company, Ron Sexsmith sounds comparatively perky with his plea for a better world -- he's kind of like a musical version of Sam, who thinks people shouldn't be put in boxes and is dismayed to have been "pinholed" in the past. Not quite sure what that refers to but I'm sure I wouldn't like it... 

And then finally we have Tom Mcrae, who certainly shines a different light on Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmastime'. In fact he sounds like a twelve-year-old kid who's just come from a meeting with some weird grown-ups who made him describe his recent pinholing experiences using a pair of anatomically-correct dolls and a pack of crayons. Don't you just want to take him home and, like, drug him? ...Yeah, OK, no, sure.

We'll be on safer ground tomorrow I promise. But for now, I'm just going to snuggle down for a good old mope-a-long with all the sad young men. Truth is, my bwoy's been gone a week and a day, and I'm not going to see him till January tenth or something horrible like that and it sucks. (If you see this: Love you longtime, dude.) No, no, don't worry about me. I'm simply... sniff... having... trembly lip... a wonderful... choked-back sob... Christmastime. Gurgle. Drink cry drink cry drink cry puke cry fwap fwap fwap sleep. The end. xx

Track listing:
1 Bright Eyes: O Little Town of Bethlehem
2 The Orioles: Lonely Christmas
3 Ron Sexsmith: Maybe This Christmas
4 Tom McRae: Wonderful Christmastime

1 comment:

simon kane said...

Sam's head was made for 16:9.
A pint in the new year?