Posts Tagged ‘2008 in review’

Hey, Santa, pass us that bottle, will ya?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

You’ll be glad to know that I won’t be jumping on the Best of the Year list bandwagon that most blogs will be foisting on you at the moment. This is partly because I like to subvert expectations, not run with the crowd and challenge the accepted norm, but mainly because I only saw about three films this year. But if you really need to know, Cloverfield mu’fuh!

At this time of year (as Craig from Big Brother 1 would say) I normally post links to my favourite Christmas songs. It’s good to have traditions in these secular times, wouldn’t you say? However, my absolute favourite isn’t really a Christmas song in the truest sense, seeing as how it celebrates the Winter Solstice, but I guess people don’t really care about such quibbles. It certainly sounds pretty damn Christmassy.

Even though the original is utterly perfect in its evocation of medieval England by way of the mid 1970s, a rerecording of this song appears on The Jethro Tull Christmas Album, in which the long in the tooth folky progsters offer some jazzy versions of Christmas carols, a few jaunty originals, and, like the aforementioned Solstice Bells, revisit some of their old songs that have a seasonal theme.

A Christmas Song first appeared on 1972’s Living in the Past album, and, while being a beautiful litle acoustic vignette features some of the clumsiest lyrics Ian Anderson ever wrote. Try this: “Once in royal David’s city/ stood a lonely cattle shed/ Where a mother held her baby/ You’d do well to remember the things he later said” not to menton the line “You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making” which manages to be both grammatically mangled and completely nonsensical. It is clearly a song written by a very young man, struggling to articulate his frustrations at the contradictory nature of the festive period.

About twenty years later, Anderson wrote Another Christmas Song. Although shot through with a sense of melancholy, it is by contrast is an altogether more optimistic piece of music. It’s clearly written by an older man, accepting that even though the world isn’t necessarily the way it should be, we should surround ourselves with the people we love and wish that ohers can enjoy it however they can. “Hope everybody’s ringing their own bell this fine morning” indeed.

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