Do They Know It’s Christmastime? A Holiday Rant.

Where were you during Christmas of 1984? I remember where I was. It was my freshman year of high school; I was 14 and firmly implanted in my blue eye shadow and a mullet with tall bangs (courtesy of Aqua Net Extra Super Hold). I had huge glasses. And I was riding the 80s New Wave of music much like the rest of my peers. It was a time of big, over-the-top concerts and musical collaborations done for charity.

When the holidays rolled around, the New Wave collaboration came around in the form of Band Aid. Featuring members of U2, Wham!, Spandau Ballet, Bananarama, Big Country & Duran Duran (swoon!), we were all loving the collaboration, and everywhere you went you heard their song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Through the years, it’s remained a favorite of mine. I love the 80s pop sound. I’ve tried to find the song but it was out of print for many years and now I believe only available in a few select places.

So this year, I’m listening to that station that plays all the Christmas music for the entire month of December, and it comes on the radio. I turn it up. I say “Hey, kids, here’s a good one!” And I start to sing along:

It’s Christmas time; there’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time; 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 Christmas time

 

So far so good, yeah? Then it went on:

But say a prayer; Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time it’s hard But when you’re having fun
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
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

Um, wow, really? This is so not a bright and cheery song. Yes, I get the whole “we need to help those less fortunate” angle and I so totally agree with that, but is a bouncy pop song really the way to go about that? And considering it’s taken me nearly 20 years to really listen to those lyrics, I have to say that the song is a bit of a #fail in my opinion.

And let me be clear; I’ve loved this song for years. Played it, sang along with it, waxed poetic about it. But now? I guess I’m over it. And I’m not the only one, because later that day? I saw an article by Bob Geldof. And even the man behind the music is sick of the song (proof).

How ’bout you? Any songs that have become the fruitcake of your holiday?

10 Responses to Do They Know It’s Christmastime? A Holiday Rant.
  1. Ri
    December 3, 2010 | 5:06 pm

    Dude. This has always been my most hated Holiday song – even in 1984! When Bono belts out “Tonight be glad it’s them instead of you” I always just want to punch him right in his big
    Irish head.

    (I can say that, because my last name starts with an O and contains an apostrophe, by the way…)

  2. Ri
    December 3, 2010 | 5:06 pm

    Dude. This has always been my most hated Holiday song – even in 1984! When Bono belts out “Tonight be glad it’s them instead of you” I always just want to punch him right in his big Irish head.

    (I can say that, because my last name starts with an O and contains an apostrophe, by the way…)

  3. oh_pook
    December 4, 2010 | 9:18 am

    I’m in the minority with this one…

    have always and still love it!!

    I get it’s a little intense and preachy… but it always reminds me to be thankful and to not sweat the small stuff… like disappointing a kid for not getting them something we can’t really afford… (and bonus… it makes me dance around)

    …and Ri’s “punch Bono in his big irish head” line makes tears come in my eyes to this day (but so do hallmark commercials <— I blame that on the "Mc" in my name)

    but to answer Mari's query… the "buying red shoes for my dying mother" song I'd like to punch in the face…

  4. Melisa
    December 9, 2010 | 6:43 am

    DUDE: this song was written to RAISE MONEY for starving people!!! It was meant to raise awareness via big hair and men wearing lots of eyeliner! That’s why the lyrics are the way they are…

    I have always loved this song. And I still have my 45 rpm. ;)
    (plus the digital file)
    Melisa´s last [type] ..D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    • Mari
      December 9, 2010 | 12:20 pm

      Melisa, I’m with you! I think it’s great to raise money for people in need. But I’m not glad it’s them instead of you (me). That’s just absurd. And that’s where they lost me. It’s like mother guilt in an upbeat pop song. But I think it’s awesome that you own it on 45, and also a little jealous. ;)
      Mari´s last [type] ..The one where I start doing Friday MEMEs

  5. Tiffani
    December 10, 2010 | 6:54 pm

    I guess if I’m honest, deep down inside, I’m glad it’s not me. Which, I guess, means “thank God it’s them instead of you” is true. I mean, we’re not really thanking God they are starving. We’re thanking God that we’re NOT starving. Yes, that’s my justification.

    Still, I love the song. And John Taylor.
    Tiffani´s last [type] ..Blue Christmas

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