Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Managed to Make it Through Christmas Without Hearing "The Christmas Shoes!"

Now maybe I am just shooting my mouth off and damning myself to an endless cycle of this song for the rest of the holiday season, but I am pretty jacked that I managed to avoid it so far. This includes several hours of holiday radio with nary a mention of that horrid, horrid tune. Its so treacly and annoying and it really just pisses me off. The Christian group Newsong has managed to do something I didn't think was possible: hate during the holidays.

Now before you think I am devoid of sentiment, I'd like to point out that emotion has nothing to do with it. This song is a crock of bullshit. I think it was written to exploit emotion during the holiday season.

For those who don't know what this song is about, it details the last minute shopping of a man caught up in the rush and not really feeling the holiday spirit. In front of him in the check out line, a young boy tries to buy a pair of women's shoes but doesn't have enough money. The boy then tells anyone who will listen that he is buying these shoes for his mother so that she can look pretty for when she meets Jesus (i.e., dies). The man is so moved by this young boy and the true meaning of Christmas that he buys the shoes and then writes a damn song about it so everyone can know how selfless he is. Dick.

Now maybe this really happened to one of the guys in the band. If so, and he can produce receipts and a death certificate, then I will take all of this back. But I really don't see any of that happening, so lets move on.

I'm as sentimental as the next guy. Probably way more so, actually. I caught myself getting a little misty during Fred Claus the other night. But this song will have nothing but my undying hate until I shuffle off this mortal coil. Its like the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition of Christmas music. Do you remember when that show first came on and they actually showed how they built the houses and helped people? Then it turned into and hour-long commercial for Sears where Ty Pennington gets to speak softly into and build beach houses for families of lepers.

At first that show was great. They were helping people but not shoving it down your throat. You could watch the show and feel good because that was the natural reaction to the situation. Now they just force a tube down your throat and pour in their saccharine, feel-good propaganda (sorry to get all Gen-X blogger on you there).

The same thing applies to "The Christmas Shoes." They actually wrote a novel around this song and made a movie about it starring Rob Lowe. What the hell?

I say, let the people take away what they will from a song without forcing an agenda. I'm sure there are people that tear up during "The Christmas Song" or Elvis' wonderful "Blue Christmas." Either way, those classics stand on their own merits and they don't rely on some contrived situation to try and build a following. Those songs are universal.

I'm hopeful that the absence of "The Christmas Shoes" marks a trend away from bullshit sentimentality. If not I have the remedy. Next holiday season, I plan to really push this song to the forefront of the holiday music scene.

PS If "The Christmas Shoes" is totally your jam, then I am sorry for attempting to rip it a new one. Enjoy it if you will, just don't play it around me.

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