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The Best of the Rest: Christmas on E Street

December 23, 2008
10 points to the person who can best describe what those children behind Bruce are doing.

10 points to the person who can best describe what those children behind Bruce are doing.

As I was planning this, I asked myself, “isn’t this completely gratuitous?” Then I realized that yes, it is, but so is blogging. And I’m not about to stop now — that would be a complete waste of everything I’ve worked so hard on today.

In a Christmas song, I look for 3 things:

  1. singability
  2. youthful spirit
  3. overwhelming loneliness

As you can imagine, it’s difficult to find all three. So I picked one song that I think highlights each of the three best.

  1. Singability: All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey: Version upon version of this has been performed, by any number of dubious artists, but I think the greatest testament to its immensely catchy singability is the fact that, no matter where you hear this, you or someone near you will start singing along. Take, for example, today, when I was mailing some packages at the post office and this was playing on the radio piped through that hall of misery. I started singing along (in what I thought was a relatively discreet manner), and the portly woman behind the desk gave me a big ol’ “mmhmmm” and told me to “belt it, boy!” Post offices are scary places this time of year.
  2. Youthful spirit: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – Bruce Springsteen: I live for Bruce. True story. And this live recording shows the raw power of the Boss. Recorded in 1978, this shows him and the E Street band at their best — I like to think that they never rehearsed this before performing it, and through sheer musical ability and amazing unity managed to scrap together what I consider the definitive version of the song. Listen for Bruce’s chuckles during the lyrics, and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. Overwhelming loneliness: I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Nickel Creek: You’re probably thinking, “why the hell is overwhelming loneliness a criteria for an essential Christmas song?” Let me tell you why: because I write this thing, and I said so. I was trying to fit this square peg in a round hole, when I realized that I’m the boss around these parts, and I make the rules. I like this song, which means you have to, too. That’s how this works. Really, though, I think this is beautiful, and I’m just acting tough so you won’t see how sensitive I am. Sorry, I know it’s not fair.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. puppyz4prez489 permalink
    December 24, 2008 12:08 am

    i think you mean elves, not children.

    also, i’ll give 20 points to the person who can best describe what that large lady hand is doing next to santa.

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