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As crowds line up, snaking down city blocks and shivering in sub-zero temperatures in anticipation of snagging a bargain on what has now become the second Great Holiday; Black Friday – a name which seems ironic, as it should be called Green Friday as retailers stand a better chance of raking in as much cash as possible in this one day as any other day in the year – Christmas season has now inexorably wheezed to a start.
And with the start of Christmas season, so starts Christmas Music season; that music which runs the gamut from socially profound to treacly nostalgic, shamelessly bent on getting you to spend money you don’t have for things people you barely like or know most likely don’t, need for reactions that hover around “oh, you shouldn’t have”.
But when you get past the wanton capitalism of it all and scrape away all the bogus sentimentality to actually reveal the celebrating of a season of camaraderie and reflection, it ain’t so bad. And truths to tell, there’s some pretty good Christmas music out there.
So we’re diving into Christmas Music season this year with an eclectic batch of discs and broadcasts, starting with a perennial favorite – the late and much-lamented Leon Russell in a single released in 1972. Slippin’ Into Christmas was perfect 70s at the time – and more perfect decades later. Like everyone who doesn’t want the season or the spirit driven into them like spikes, Russell’s take on the time of the year sums it up for a lot of people without making a big deal out of it. It’s a time to look back on all that’s gone on, all that’s happened and a future with a big question mark. Something a lot (most) of us can relate to, especially this year.
It would be nice if Slippin’ Into Christmas became a standard – except I’m not sure how I’d feel about it playing over the loudspeakers at Starbucks or Ralph’s. Some music just hits you on a fundamental level and maybe it should stay that way; like your own secret musical handshake.
So here’s to the open floodgates of crass commercialism and joyous road-rage – we’ll all calm down once January 2nd rolls around – maybe.