When the clock strikes midnight on Christmas and the twenty fifth becomes the twenty sixth, all holiday music should immediately come to a screeching halt. The Christmas music season is over, it’s time to put away your trove of Christmas CDs you’ve had for twenty years, and resume listening to songs that aren’t about snow and trees. There is a time and place for holiday music, and when that period ends it ends, for all Christmas songs, no matter how wonderful or beloved they are.
But we should make one exception. We should all be allowed to listen to The Kinks’ “Father Christmas” year-round.
Holiday music is so defined by its season, so rooted in the celebration of Christmas, that hearing it outside of the context of the season is jarring. But this doesn’t apply to the Kinks’ song though, the most underplayed and under appreciated Christmas song out there. Yeah, they use bells, but they are to contrast the fast guitars and frantic drumming that make this a great rock song.
That’s the real point here, this is a rock n’ roll song, far more than it is a Christmas carol. You aren’t air drumming and rocking out to other holiday songs like this. Why would you want to deprive yourself of a great rock song from The Kinks for 11 months a year?
Besides, even the topic of Christmas is dealt with in a way that is very different from the normal holiday parameters. It’s not about the greatness of the season; it’s actually about some poor kids threatening to beat up a department store Santa if he doesn’t hand over the donations he’s collected.
Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over
We want your bread so don’t make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys
It’s a fun sounding song that is also pretty funny (violence isn’t funny, but compared to a typical Christmas scene, this is funny), but then it gets dark.
But give my daddy a job ’cause he needs one
He’s got lots of mouths to feed
But if you’ve got one, I’ll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street
This is a song about jealousy, fear, capitalism, poverty, and a sad type of dying hope. That’s not celebrating Christmas, that’s talking about the inequities of life, in the great tradition of the rock genre. Meanwhile The Kinks are just completely rocking out the whole time, creating a great dichotomy between the music being played and the words being sung.
Listen to this and then picture yourself speeding along the highway on a gorgeous day in July, windows down, this song blaring. It works, doesn’t it? You wish you could do that right now. Now try picturing that exact same drive with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” playing instead.
You’d look like a lunatic.
“Father Christmas” is too good to be cast aside after a month of being played between “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Besides, Christmas music always wants you to “keep the spirit” of the season with you all year long, right? Well, The Kinks have a message you should remember all the time too.
Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin’
While you’re drinkin’ down your wine
That’s an idea worth keeping with you always, well past December 25.
Do you think there are any other Christmas songs that are worthy of a year-round listen? Sing it in our comments below.
Featured Image: thekinks.info