Doing the "Peanuts is Timeless" posts that kick off every week here in Trapper Jenn Land, I endeavor to scour the internet for the most significant, interesting, and entertaining references to the greatest comic strip to ever grace the world. It is only inevitable something will miss my gaze.
I can only imagine that Thanksgiving dinner clouded my judgment and caused the oversight of a New Zealand site's Best and Worst Christmas Songs poll printed on November 25th of this year. Readers of the NZ Herald decided, in their infinite sagacity, that the worst holiday tune of ever-ever must be "Snoopy's Christmas" by the Royal Guardsmen.
Now, let me explain something. While I am a Snoopy fanatic, I do not instantly approve of something just because it contains the name Snoopy, or features his face and/or body. Despite my mega-fandom, I am able to use my powers of discernment and decide for myself whether or not a book, shirt, song, or cookie jar is worthy of my support.
(The preceding paragraph was bullshit. I'd buy a Snoopy shirt that said "Sonic Youth sucks" if Snoopy was winking on it.)
But, I don't think "Snoopy's Christmas" is the pinnacle of seasonal tunes. However, it is far from the worst. And all New Zealanders who deemed it such are worthless sacks of poo. The lyrics are a fictional recreation of the World War I "Christmas Truce", for starters. How's that for substantive lyricism? Not to mention that every other line namedrops "Snoopy", lest you forget who our hero is.
"Snoopy's Christmas" was followed by:
Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano (1970)
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Randy Brooks (1979)
Santa Never Made It Into Darwin - Bill & Boyd (1975)
Mistletoe and Wine - Cliff Richards (1988)
The Christmas Song - Alvin and the Chipmunks (1981)
I am proud as hell to say I've never heard the third and fourth songs. One great thing about being an American of a certain age is Cliff Richards just doesn't mean shit to you at all. The others are OK, save for "Grandma Got Run Over", which is a terrifyingly bad song even if you do find the twistedly humorous demises of the elderly knee-slap hilarious.
The best list is, well, da best:
All I Want for Christmas - Mariah Carey (1994)
Last Christmas (I gave you my heart) - Wham (1984)
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues featuring Kirsty McColl (1987)
Christmas Is All Around Us - Bill Nighy - as Billy Mack in Love Actually (2003)
Do They Know It's Christmas Time At All? - Band Aid (1984)
Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon (1971)
You're a Mean One Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft (1966)
Again, numbers 3 and 4 have never passed by my ears. (I cannot imagine Shane MacGowan filled with any spirit that can't be contained in a glass, anyway.) The Band Aid track is only passable in parody (just last night I could be heard regaling my mother with a rousing "Do They Know It's Arbor Day"), although as far as altruistic asshole anthems go, it knocks piss out of "We Are the World". I've already posted my thoughts on Lennon's protest fluff. And heh, Thurl Ravenscroft actually did the voice of the "No Dogs Allowed" guy in Snoopy Come Home. I'm getting all these signs that I need to review that film.
New Zealand must be real pop-friendly to put Mariah best-evah, although to be honest, it is pretty much the only Mariah Carey song I like. It starts out all smoky-diva and then bursts into a bell-happy boisterous bop, while the former Mrs. Mottola actually reins in her runaway pipes for once. It speaks to the ineffable quality of Christmas that the season of presents and decorations and cookies can inspire singers and musicians who normally make me puke green stuff the texture of hair conditioner to create actual listenable tracks. In addition to Mariah's anomaly, there's also Bryan Adams' "Christmas Time" which mainly gets by on the chorus melody. But seriously...Bryan goddamn Adams, people! Mr. Cuts Like a Knife! Sir Anything I'd Do I'd Do It Just to Get Him To Shut Up Before My Brain Evaporates! He actually did a good song! That's the power of Christmas.