All I Want is Narrative: Do Christmas songs make good stories?4 min read

by Dec 23, 2016Writing0 comments

If the Nobel committee can give Bob Dylan the prize for Literature, then I can spend my Christmas blog rating the narratives of Christmas pop songs.  Let’s be clear, I’m not dissing your favourite Christmas jingles.  I’m just dissing their plot lines.  Happy Christmas!

Wham! – “Last Christmas”

Most of the narrative here comes from a music video that seems confusingly separate from the lyrics.  If this year he’s giving his heart to someone special, I presume the blonde from the music video, why is he still making eyes at the brunette that he is grumpy with for stomping on his heart last year?  Also please don’t wrap up your heart and send it to someone for Christmas.  It won’t be a pleasant experience for anyone.  5/10

Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

So, why do magic reindeer click?  This has always been my biggest question about this song.  Narrative-wise there’s not a lot going on but it is consistent and on message.  Mostly we’re singing along and hoping very hard that we can hit the high note at the end without breaking any eardrums. 6/10

The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York”

This one has a story I can get behind, as well as being the song I can sing in front of my parents without being yelled at for using the word “arse”.  The main attraction of the song, other than merrily singing insults, is working out what the Mmmwhmm Pitty choir is and why they’re still singing “gommwithbae”.  It’s got romance, bitterness, drug abuse and the police; all the classic ingredients of a Christmas blockbuster.  9/10

The Darkness – “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)”

Until I started writing this article, I don’t think I knew what any of the lyrics of this song were.  I just squeaked along until the bit where I could yell “don’t let the bellllllllllls end!” at the top of my lungs.  It’s a narrative of someone with a partner they barely see due to work schedules.  Our hero is looking forward to Christmas because it means they’ll at least get the day together.  Even if it’s a day of “feigning joy and surprise/At the gifts we despise/Over mulled wine”.  A little bit of truthful Christmas storytelling. 7/10

Wizzard – “I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day”

Just… no.  I’m not Scrooge, I don’t bah humbug, but if every day was Christmas I would suffer death by turkey and sloe gin overdose by New Years Eve.   There’s also not really a narrative here, other than the man who hit the news for doing this for 22 years…  3/10

Happy writing over the festive period from all of the Plotist team!

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