Statistics Saturday: Your 2018 Christmas Songs Schedule


In comparison to that of 2014.

Day Status
December 16 Refusing to read any more essays that want you to have an opinion on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.
December 18 Trying to insist the problem is they just don’t write good Christmas songs anymore and it’s not that you imprinted on the songs of your childhood and aren’t taking in new ones.
December 19 Minor-key acoustic cover of “Wonderful Christmastime” makes you exit for the kitchen, open the freezer door, stick your head in, and scream into a bag of frozen peas-and-corn.
December 20 Wishing you still had the emotional baseline that allowed you to be genuinely upset about “Santa Baby”.
December 21 Karaoke night has a group that starts out singing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” but ends up making a fair fraction of the bar actually weepy.
December 22 Entire afternoon spent reading the lyrics to Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Jingle-o The Brownie” and pondering dumb mysteries like why Jingle-o has such a broad and, honestly, unfocused portfolio
December 23 Attempt to fuse an argument about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to the question of whether pigs-in-blankets count as sandwiches somehow backfires and gets you stuck among people trying so hard to insist that Back To The Future II is somehow a “Christmas Movie” that you can’t tell exactly where the put-on is. You scream into a bag of frozen peas-and-corn-and-carrots, the extra carrots doing much to absorb the sonic blast.
December 25 Watch about 65 minutes of the movie Auntie Mame before working out that oh, the version with songs in it is just called Mame and it stars different people, it’s not just that they did some weird and very wrong edit that missed out on songs like “We Need A Little Christmas”.
December 27 Entire day lost to trying to convince people you heard a song titled “Captain Santa Claus And His Reindeer Space Patrol”. You are imagining things.
January 3 Hey, they snubbed “Father Christmas” again, didn’t they? Ray Davies is not going to be happy.

Reference: A History Of Poland, Oscar Halecki.

Statistics Saturday: Christmas Song Play Counts, 2017


Song Played How Much?
I’m Getting Nuttin’ For Christmas Too Much
Sleigh Ride (Instrumental) About The Right Amount
The Muppet Twelve Days Of Christmas Not Enough
Christmas Eve In Fairyland Not Enough [*]
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas Too Much [**]
Sleigh Ride (With Words) Too Much
The Twelve Pains Of Christmas About The Right Amount
The Snow Miser/Heat Miser Song About The Right Amount/Too Much [***]
Every Other Novelty Version Of The Twelve Days Of Christmas Ever Too Much
Chrissy, The Christmas Mouse Not Enough [****]

[*] It doesn’t need to be played a lot, but it is under-performing so far.

[**] Without its use in that commercial for whatever it would still be too much, but much less too much.

[***] The Heat Miser side of the song is just so much weaker.

[****] At this point it’s so un-played I’m forced to wonder if I imagined the whole song.

Source: Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World, Brian J Cudahy.

The Top Ten For 2016


As it’s the time of year when we run out of time for the year let’s review the Top Ten of the year gone by.

  1. August 22. This is usually a pretty solid 24 hours of the year and once again we really nailed it. Everyone involved with the production of August 22nd should give themselves a round of applause, although not in so unseemly a way.
  2. once-in-james-joyce.com. The rare follow-up project that builds on the brilliance of the original, this scrappy web site allows us to quickly look up all the words which appear precisely one time in the collected works of James Joyce. The site’s designers admitted they thought nothing might top once-in-shakespeare.com but found new challenges and delights in working with another author considering they want to be thought of as the kinds of people who’ve read Joyce without actually going to the trouble of doing it.
  3. Flatware. Although much flatware these days extends into a third dimension and so falls short of being actually flat, it nevertheless remains the best-known way to satisfy the need to have flatware. Besides, flatware can be made much more like itself if one simply is on good terms with one or more steamroller operators or possibly pile-drive drivers. You are on good terms with one or more of them, I hope, lest you have no way of slowing down that determined cartoon cat who’s been chasing you all through the construction site.
  4. Mellifluous. One of the English language’s top words for sounding like what it is without falling into an onomatopoetic trap. It’s especially good for saying out loud in case you ever need the feeling of being a comforting voice actor or movie trailer voice-over person. Rated PG-13, warnings for language use.
  5. People being buried with their cell phones. “I’m sorry, you’re breaking up — I’m entering a long, dark tunnel with a bright light at the end.” I probably accidentally stole that joke from somebody and I hope it was a friend.
  6. Simple home-recipe syrup. Despite the breakthroughs in solving higher-order syrup polynomials that make complex-valued syrups an exciting possibility we can still do quite nicely without anything but real numbers, syrup, and a trio of pancakes with blueberry that turn out to be rather more food than anyone had imagined. Also they come with eggs for some reason. And six pieces of toast. It’s getting to be a little much, but at least it’s a simple much.
  7. Adverbs. These bread crumbs of the English language have stuck on well past their expected end-of-support date. But they’re just too useful in meeting a mandatory word count. And we realize now there would be too large and too noticeable a hole if we did finally get rid of them. The hole would be where the wrong form of “a” or “an” were used.
  8. Swiss IV. This, one of the most exciting cheeses in years, overcomes nearly all the problems inherent in the original Swiss cheese. No longer are its holes too large nor too small. Thanks to the latest of aerogel dairy technology we can just have chunks of cloudlike foam that have within them the potential to be sandwiches. It’s great as it is, and promises to be only better in 2017 when we start to see rooms full of cheese air that let us finally eliminate the difference between eating and breathing. Not for the Vegan or lactose-intolerant eater, but they’re used to that. Do not ask about Swiss II or Swiss III. Everybody involved is still very sensitive about the side effects.
  9. The following Wikipedia Statement: “The Tasmanian rainforest is considered a Gondwanan relic.” Though there have been many unsettling and struggling and disturbing things about the year, to know there is still a general consensus on some rainforest somewhere being a Gondwanan relic is itself a great relief. To know that it is Tasmanian simply adds to the relief, then squares it, then doubles that result, reverse the numbers, subtracts the original number and gives us the result of 17. Is that not amazing?
  10. Chrissy the Christmas Mouse. Despite the proliferation of 24-hour Christmas music stations this chipper little ditty continues to not be overexposed. In fact I don’t remember hearing it at all since 1999 so at this point I have to suppose I just made up this little tune about a mouse that lives in the floorboards of Santa’s house and loves being around all the Christmas activity and finally one year gets to ride in Santa’s sleigh. I can’t have made that up, can I? But nobody ever plays it. So that’s good. Or maybe I did imagine it in which case I’ve got a great idea for a catchy Christmas tune that’ll become horribly overused inside of like two years. Let me know.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index rose five points when everyone resolved they had indeed eaten too much over the eating holidays this year and they were going to start a serious diet come Monday.

89

What I’m Up To This Week


I’m just busy recording slightly stranger and more abstract covers of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” until people stop complaining about the original being the worst Christmas song ever. I’m not even sure it’s the worst 70s Beatle Solo Christmas Song. But it does get more exposure since you can turn on any holiday-tunes channel and hear it cycle around four times before John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” finishes its fadeout once. Ringo Starr probably has something that would be in contention too but I think these days we see how much fun he’s having on his Twitter account and nobody has the heart to tell him he had some bad song somewhere. He probably wouldn’t hear it anyway. I wonder if we could put “Wonderful Christmastime” to whatever beat it is you get from the Demo 4 button.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped eight points today, which nobody saw coming, setting off a good argument in the faculty lounge about the extent to which this trading is based on real market fundamentals and how much it’s just random noise. The consensus so far is that while everybody liked Community they’re kind of looking for reasons not to watch that thing Joel McHale is in now. Nobody knows how the conversation got to that point.

90

Is That Enough?


I got to thinking about how whenever you pile together Christmas songs that people hate Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” is invariably near the top of the heap. Often the only things listed as more annoying are novelty songs about how annoying Christmas is what with its agenda of hearth and home and security and generosity. But even if you do hate it, you know what the song is, which is a pretty impressive standing for Christmas songs written after 1965 by anyone but Rankin/Bass staff writers. Think of all the Christmas songs written in the past three decades that you can’t remember: you can’t, because I cleverly framed the debate by the rhetorical method of being a dirty cheater. Ha ha! But those new songs are still out there, waiting on the Modern Christmas music channels, keeping you away from the songs you have any chance of recognizing.

What I wonder is how Paul McCartney feels about writing nearly the last important addition to the Christmas song canon even though people only mention it to chant “no” in time with every synthesized note. Does, like, Ray Davies ever pop in to his place and say something like, “Oi! Good job stuffing the wireless full of your learning the buttons on your new Casio,” and then punch a wall because he heard Roger Daltrey had once leaned against it? And then Paul answers, “I know, lad, but we were on deadline so published before I had enough lines that were just pleasant syllables like ‘ding dong ding dong’ or ‘wo wo wo wo’ or what.” And then producer Trevor Horn waves a hand and emits some complicated sound, because he comes from the North of England, where the people have no language and communicate instead by a melodic series of intonations occasionally marked by the loan-words “howay” or “dou’t”. What he means is hey, he’s not responsible for the writing of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, but that definitely postdates “Wonderful Christmastime” and people like listening to it enough to complain that yes, technically speaking, many people in Africa have a good idea when Christmas is but that’s missing the whole point of the song. They concede because it’s too hard to carry on the debate.

Still, I feel like there’s a problem with how hard it is getting a good new Christmas song going. I don’t think it’s a major problem, like crumbling infrastructure or the way my car needs some weird mutant cable to connect to an iPod, especially since there’s a vast reserve of forgotten Christmas songs from the 40s and 50s we can turn to if we need something different, but it’s a problem yet. Some of it I think is we’ve lost universal references; for example, it used to be most everyone could have, or plausibly have, snow on Christmas. But the population’s been moving to warmer territories ever since technology made it possible to ignore the Arizona state legislature behaving like that, and now the only thing songwriters can be confident will happen around Christmas is that people will be complaining about Christmas songs.

We don’t write songs that contain stories anymore, which might be a problem, since a lot of great Christmas songs are narrative ones, like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and I hear rumors there’s a third or fourth and maybe even a fifth. When I say “we” I mean “people who aren’t me”, for reasons that make sense when you consider my contributions to music mostly cause other people shake their heads sadly and pat me, assuring me that things will get better.

There are plenty of Christmas Song mood pieces, like “Winter Wonderland” or and here I want to mention “Silver Bells” but my love hates that song so let’s just move on to the rest of the list, and our songwriters certainly know how to write that these days. For example, Walk The Moon has done very well with an anthemic song about the house falling apart, and OK Go is similarly successful with the idea that there’ll be a morning coming. If they joined forces they could surely paint a picture of how when the house arrives, morning will fall apart. This is good but it isn’t very Christmas-y so maybe I just figured out what the problem was. Sorry for the bother of working this out in public.

Statistics Saturday: Your Christmas Songs Schedule


Day Song Status
December 14 Complaining about “Santa Baby”.
December 15 That friend who tells you every Halloween how Frankenstein isn’t properly the name of the creature decides everyone has to know if you don’t sing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” so it’s suicidally depressing you’re doing it wrong, again.
December 16 Sole annual appearance of “Chrissy, The Christmas Mouse” on any of the twelve Christmas music channels available to you. You miss it.
December 17 “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” makes people think about Bill Cosby, feel even worse.
December 18 Attempt at making a news-media satirical song out of “Walking In A Winter Wonderland” gets as far as “In The Meadow We Can Build A Newsman, And Pretend That He Is Aaron Brown” before running out of creative inspiration and being abandoned until next year, when it doesn’t get any father, again.
December 19 Complaining about “Wonderful Christmastime”.
December 20 That same friend gets on about how nobody remembers Walt Kelly’s “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie” except Gasoline Alley and who reads Gasoline Alley anymore except him and even he doesn’t like it exactly.
December 21 Complaining that “My Favorite Things” is not at all a Christmas song and shouldn’t even be on this list.
December 22 Boy is Mitch Mitchell slamming you to the ground and shoving merriness down your throat.
December 23 “All I Want For Christmas” reminds you of Spike Jones, but not why that friend keeps going on about his genius.
December 24 Realize there’s this lick in “Do They Know It’s Christmas” that sounds like they’re welcoming Christmas to the Pleasuredome.
December 25 “Silent Night” way overproduced.
December 26 Everyone remembers melody of “Good King Wenceslas”, not anything else about it, including words or why anyone would sing it, but you somehow spell it correctly while trying to look it up.
December 27 Hey, did they play the Kinks’ “Father Christmas” at all this year?