Monday, December 8, 2008

How Wham! Ruined Christmas

Around this time of the year, naturally, radio stations across the country convert to their holiday music format. Some radio formats, like Sirius satellite radio, have four, count 'em four, holiday stations. One is Christmas modern and traditional classics, one is symphonic Christmas music, one is country Christmas music, and one is Hanukkah. Listening to holiday music is probably the easiest way to put oneself in the holiday spirit, and many people find much joy in both secular and non-secular holiday music. For all of The 40 Year Old Virgin fans out there, I've put together a mixtape for you called "Lose-your-boner jams" from the music played on these channels.

There is one song that is played constantly around the country at this time of the year that has, sadly and maddeningly, become some sort of new-age Christmas classic. That song, is called "Last Christmas" by the 80s pop duo Wham! If it was up to me, I would not have ended that sentence with an exclamation mark, but Wham! is Wham! If emoticons existed in the 1980s, it is probable that people like me would have called them Wham >=(

Anecdotally, I have not been able to determine whether or not people born in the 80s typically love or hate 80s music, but I know that I am not the biggest fan. I do know, deep down in my heart, that this song is the worst thing to happen to Christmas since Caesar Augustus decided not to take a census and have every person in the entire Roman world go to his own home town to register. Rimshot. Bow. Applause.

Seriously though, I can not figure out how this song has found a place for itself in the pantheon of standard Christmas songs. My interactions are typically with a non-representative subset of the human population (i.e. people like me), but I have not come across a single person who finds happiness, joy, worthwhile memories, or anything redeeming in this song. Why does it invade my life and aural cavity at this time of the year? Every time I hear it, my love of the Christmas season dies just a little bit. On that note, here is "Last Christmas" from YouTube. If you do find the song enjoyable, please let me know why. If no one likes it, perhaps we can start some sort of petition to forever remove it from the holidays under penalty of karate chops.


BobA said...

Somehow this song had escaped my attention every Christmas season. Perhaps that is because I don't listen to the Christmas stations. (I hear plenty of holiday music when I go shopping.) However, thanks to your blog, it is now part of my memories. Thanks!?

A-ro said...

I don't want $1, but was wondering if there was any Christmas music you did like, because - I hate it all. All that pop station Christmas Music junk - including any poem set to music by Adam Sandler.

Ken said...

No one wants my dollar, and my dad and sister in-law-in-law don't need my dollar, so I would probably say my marketing plan needs some tweaking. It's still open for whoever is cash-strapped!

On the Christmas music front, there are a few songs that I enjoy quite a bit. I definitely agree that most of the modern pop-Christmas songs are unlistenable, but I think the classics are quite nice - The Christmas Song (maybe my favorite), The First Noel, Joy to the World, anything by Raffi, Christmas Time is Here, those kinds of songs appeal to me. For some reason, I also like winter songs that have also been stolen for Christmas - like Baby It's Cold Outside and Let it Snow.

Dan A. said...

I've been listening to a cover of this song every day since Thanksgiving week. Wouldn't go a day w/o it (never knew it was a cover though).

Can be heard here:

Can also be found on the album A Santa Cause 2: It's a Punk Rock Christmas.

Ken said...

Hey Dan, your recommended version of the song is a drastic improvement over the Wham! version. Yesterday was the first day my dad heard "Last Christmas" and this morning he was lamenting that he couldn't remove the terrible thing from his head. I hope more people head over the link you recommended.