Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Listening: Have Yourself A Merry...

I've spent the past two Christmas's in India, where people appear to have no problem folding Jesus and Santa into the general pantheon that permeates everyday life there. December in India is about a lot of things besides Christmas, and Christmas day kind of comes and goes along with a half dozen other unrelated holidays that happen to fall in the season. So the Yuletide decoration and shopping machine at work in the US seems especially acute to my eyes and ears this year. Trees and wreathes and holiday music piped through elevators and restaurant speakers at every turn. I like a lot of this — more Christmas lights, please! Sure, I want to go to your party — but, suffice to say, there's a lot of truly awful Christmas music out there.
Amid it all, Kwame challenged us to learn some new Christmas songs and lo, we both chose "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" as one of our holiday covers. Turns out this 1944 classic made popular by Judy Garland is among the most-oft performed Christmas songs there is. Everyone from Garland and Sinatra to The Carpenters and The Pretenders, She & Him and Christine Aguilera have had a go of this tune. Even Dylan did it! In any case, it's a good song, in my book, not so much because of its tribute to the season, but it's realization of change and impermanence amid celebration. Here's the version that got it all going:

Have yourself a merry little christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be
Out of sight
Have yourself a merry little christmas
Make the yule-tide gay
Next year all our troubles will be
Miles away
Once again as in olden days
 Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon, we all will be together If the fates allow
Until then, well have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little christmas now.

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