Friday, December 20, 2013
Track of the Week: Miles Davis "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)"
When the holiday season began, I was in a fantastic mood. I really got into the spirit, started listening to my favorite non-shitty Christmas music (trust me, it actually exists) and sipping egg nog at the end of the day. Now, as the day approaches, I am burnt out on Christmas. I certainly enjoyed shopping for gifts after work today, but the public discourse around the holiday is wearing me down. I am just sick and tired of the idiotic "War on Christmas" bullshit, which seems to be a ploy for middle-class white Christians to think of themselves as victims.
Year after year I get depressed when I hear someone say "Merry Christmas!" as a weapon or political statement. (The way it's practically spat out of the mouths of certain Fox News viewers is a dead giveaway.) There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that so effectively drains the joy out of the season than that. Ironically, it is the supposed defenders of Christmas like Bill O'Reilly, who have killed its spirit deader than any Scrooge or Grinch could have hoped for.
It is with that knowledge that I recommend that you listen to "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)." It's an odd track, because Miles Davis is the last guy you'd expect to cut a Christmas song, and it has a vocal over it by Bob Dorough to boot. The words pretty baldly criticize the consumerism, cynicism, "bad taste" and increased hassles that come with the Christmas season. At its base, it laments the joylessness of what's supposed to be a joyful season, which is all too appropriate living in a time when the same people who get apoplectic over someone daring to wish them a "happy holidays" are more than happy to cut off unemployment benefits right after Christmas. At least when I listen to this song I can get an antidote to all the hypocrisy, with some tasty jazz licks to go with it.