Saturday, December 8, 2012

Merry Geekmas: This Week's Assignment From the League

Here I am with this week's League of Extraordinary Bloggers Assignment:

Merry Geekmas! Write or photograph something festive and pop culture oriented.

As you may have always heard when walking into public places, hearing Christmas music over the intercom is almost always inevitable at this time of the year.  You might just luck out and hear a non-Christmas tune in between multiple versions of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Santa Baby," and the like, but that seems to be rare.  Last year in December was one of those rare times, hearing a Led Zeppelin song in December on the intercom at Safeway.  And hearing "Never Be the Same" by Christopher Cross in between Christmas tunes at McDonald's last year about three days before Christmas, the last thing I ever expected to hear at Christmas time. 

As someone who works in retail and (at the same place for almost seven years now) I've had to endure listening to Christmas music over the store intercom all day for a solid month starting right after Thanksgiving.  In past years, the music system would return to regular music once Christmas was over. I could barely wait for that to happen, after a solid month of Christmas tunes.  Last year, however, they began playing Christmas songs intermittently between the regular stuff starting about two weeks before Thanksgiving.  And the day after Christmas, I walked in expecting it to be back to normal songs,  but they kept playing Christmas stuff in between regular stuff, as they had done before Thanksgiving. WTF? I kept thinking to myself.  Christmas is over! It wasn't till the following week that the intercom was entirely free of holiday tunes. 

Earlier this year we got a new music system, that includes an occasional 70s tune by Billy Preston or George Clinton and Funkadelic on an regular days, along with tunes from newer artists such as various "American Idol" winners and many 80s and 90s stuff.  When the new system  was implemented,  my boss began to wonder what they would play for Christmas.  Something I did not look forward to. The previous system would play almost every Christmas song known to the world (though some, like "Do You Hear What I Hear?" or "Little Drummer Boy" have been noticeably absent), and before the first week of December was over,  everyone would already have heard five or more different versions of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," or "Frosty the Snowman." 

This year however, it's been a lot worse.  The intermittent playing of Christmas music between regular music began 10 days before Thanksgiving as it had last year, then once gain, the Christmas music began playing full-time after Thanksgiving.  But this time, the same five or six songs keep playing all the time. I mean really!  The same stuff more than five or even 10 times in the same day.  Can you imagine how crazy that must be making some of us who have to endure all this?  I have been hearing "Wonderful Christmastime" this whole time, not just Paul McCartney's original version (which I love), but at least two awful cover versions, one by some female singer that has been stuck in my head all day today.  And I can't even tell how many times I've heard "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" over the last weeks.  And I won't even try to mention what other songs have been repeated over and over during this time.

I was glad last Saturday when I went to make some photocopies at Staples last week and heard "Do You Hear What I Hear?" on their inercoam or yesterday at Lane Bryant when I heard some different Christmas stuff including Christina Aguilera's "Christmas Time."  Not exactly favorites of mine, but a welcome change from the songs I've been hearing repeatedly at my place of work. 

As I said earlier, I love Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," and the covers I keep hearing are just not as good.  Another original Christmas tune I've loved is Elton John's "Step Into Christmas." 
Christmas tunes that have been inevitable over the years include Bruce Springsteen doing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," The Pretenders doing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," or any Christmas song done by Bon Jovi.  I haven't heard "Please Come Home for Christmas" as done by the Eagles for a few years now.  This one used to be on every year, and even though Charles Brown originally did the song, the Eagles version is the one I became familiar with and other versions (including one by Bon Jovi) just aren't as good.  And as much as I hated George Michael back in the 1980s, I hate it when other versions of "Last Christmas" get played over his, the original.  And this round of rants doesn't even scratch the surface.  I do like Bob Seger doing "Little Drummer Boy," though.  But that's enough of this, so I ca move onto something else about Christmas music. Somethitng a little different.

One thing I've always looked forward to doing every year  is playing some CDs I unexpectedly came across one year at the old Wherehouse  record store (remember those places?) on the day after Thanksgiving.  They are two CDs by Seattle radio personality Bob Rivers of his "Twisted Christmas" tunes.  These tunes are parodies of Christmas classics, or silly Christmas tunes that parody regular songs. 

One of the CDs is called "I Am Santa Claus," and its title is a parody of the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man."    Some of favorites on this are "Didn't I get This Last Year?" (parody of "Do You Hear What I Hear?") "Walking Around in Women's Underwear" ("Winter Wonderland"), and "There's Another Santa Claus" ("Here Comes Santa Claus").  Click here for the rest of the tracks.

The other CD by Bob Rivers is called "More Twisted Christmas" (I have not been bale to locate any of his other CDs).  Click here for the track listing.  I really like "There's a Santa Who looks a Lot Like Elvis," "Police Stop My  Car,"  and just had to laugh at the "Buttcracker Suite."

Often I'll find myself singing the parody songs when I hear the real ones. Listening to these parodies is often fun when I've been overwhelmed with the real Christmas music all day. Even more so this year, with so little variety in the Christmas music at my work. Hearing any Christmas tune at Safeway or Kmart  will be certainly welcome after all that.

Pardon me for this lengthy post, but there is really is a lot to say here,and a lot more I could say. This could go on all day.  Do a Google search and see if you can find the Bob Rivers songs on Youtube. They are all pretty funny. Or try to find the CDs if you dare. 


Links to the other League participants this week:

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