11 December 2007

Least Favorite Christmas Song #1

Here it is, folks, my Number One Least Favorite Christmas Song! I can feel your relief radiating through my monitor right now. So let's get to it, shall we?

It was 23 years ago that this lump of pious coal was left in our stocking. We couldn't blame Santa for this because this was the 1980's and we were all so busy saving the whales and the rain-forest and ... oh yes ...

... Africa.

Our eyes were turned over the Atlantic Ocean to the devastation occurring in the East African country of Ethiopia. This song was written as a way to raise funds for the people of Ethiopia -- a very noble sentiment and one that raised around $144 million in its first incarnation. It saw life again in 1989 and again in 2004 (money raised in 2004 went to humanitarian aid for Sudan), where millions more were raised. Not bad for a crappy song.

If you haven't guessed already, the song is "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid (and Band Aid II and Band Aid 20), written by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. Don't get me wrong, the causes for which it was recorded are laudable. But the song ... oh, the song. Let's look at some lyrics.
It's Christmastime
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime
So far so good.
But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun
Uh-oh. I feel a sermon coming on.
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging
chimes of doom
Um, being a bit overly-dramatic aren't we, Mr. Geldof? I'm sure you could have found a better phrasing than equating Christmas bells to clanging chimes of doom. Certainly a wordsmith such as yourself could have done this more poetic justice, yes?
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
WHOA! For a song that's supposed to marshall the financial troops, I'm not sure that a "better you than me" attitude is really appropriate. I thought the idea here was to feel a pang of sympathy for the people we're supposed to be helping, not superiority.
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
I would normally let a line like this pass since, with a land mass as large as Africa, it must snow somewhere sometime. However, this song was written for the people of Ethiopia. And snowfall in Ethiopia isn't what one would call a routine experience.
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
The Christian ones probably do. Not so much the Muslim ones.
(Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
I can't knock these lines. I'm all for toasting someone. And I've already commented on whether they know it's Christmas or not.
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again
Again. I'm sure the Christians would appreciate the reminder. I'm also sure the Muslim population couldn't care.

Because it's Christmastime, a time for giving, it is not enough for me to share my thoughts on my Number One Least Favorite Christmas Song. No. In the spirit of the season, I will offer you this little trinket and allow you to come to your own decision. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

This Christmas Don't be Late better be one of your favorites! -LOL


Smithers said...

I almost let it pass Mr Burns, but I have to say I am rather disappointed.

I'm reading and reading, saying to myself, wow, you are a good writer. Not that I didn't already know that, but these blog entries were simply a great reminder.

And then it happened.

You committed a sin.

You pulled a George W. Bush in fact.

My dear friend, Africa, is not a country.

The Diarist said...


Well, so I did. I'll correct that now so as to quit looking like an idiot.

That's what I get for writing at 1am.