Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#1 Worst Christmas Song: "The Christmas Shoes"

Over at Reepicheep, Tony is reviewing some of the great hymns of the Advent season--well, actually he's only reviewed Christmas hymns so far.  :)

I'm going to play the other side of the coin and review some of the very worst Christmas tunes.  Laura the Crazy Mama had a poll up on this very topic.  First in her poll--and first on my list--is NewSong's "The Christmas Shoes".  It's one of those horribly manipulative songs that's expressly engineered to bring the listener to tears.  In my experience, however, this little diddy more often inspires derisive laughter or groans of anguish (depending on the number of times to which one has been subjected to the song).  Allow me to walk you through the lyrics:   
It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
The singer has a real issue with rhyming.  Here's the first instance: time does not rhyme with line.
Trying to buy that last gift or two
Not really in the Christmas mood
Again, two does not rhyme with mood.  Did this person finish third grade?
Standing right in front of me
Was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing around like little boys do
Are little boys really known to "pace around"?  And is the boy standing in line or pacing?  At very least, this little fellow is in danger of losing his place in line, methinks.
And in his hands he held
A pair of shoes.
Here we go.
And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
First, old definitely does not rhyme with toe.  Sigh.  Second, does this boy's family not have access to a bathtub?  We find out later that his Momma is a former Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling star who is home dying of some mysterious illness.  Does this self-same home not contain indoor plumbing?  Can the able-bodied Daddy not ensure that the child bathes regularly?
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say.
Oh, I see.  So this kid is one of those annoying customers who wants to bring the gears of capitalism to a grinding halt by chatting it up with the store clerk.  I can't stand those people.  All the poor clerk wants to do is get through his shift, and all the boy's fellow shoppers want to do is get through the infernal line and get home, but this little urchin wants to regale them with his sad-sap autobiography.

And is the singer serious that he "couldn't believe" the boy's tale of woe?  Has he never heard of women in their 40's dying of illnesses?  Sad, yes.  Unbelievable, no. 
"Sir, I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please.
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size."
What gives?  Does Momma wear an unusual or hard-to-find size?  The boy acts as though it's a noteworthy achievement to have found a pair of shoes that are "just her size".  My theory is that Momma is a hulking professional wrestler and is dying from the side effects of steroid abuse.  And why does the kid feel compelled to remind the store clerk that "it's Christmas Eve"?  Is he under some illusion that the poor, harried seasonal employee (who is no doubt wearing an elf costume) is unaware of this most obvious of facts?
"Could you hurry Sir?"
Oh no he di-in't!  Can you believe the gall of this kid?  If he hadn't been yammering on ad nauseum--and had had his money ready--he would already be on his way home.
"Daddy says there's not much time."
You mean the same good-for-nothing Daddy who lets him run the streets on Christmas Eve, dirty, penniless, and half-naked?  Just checking.
"You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus, tonight."
As if this woman, who is lying in bed writhing in agony, is going to want to strap some uncomfortable shoes on her hideously gigantic feet.  Yeah, that'll maker her smile!  Apparently Daddy hasn't taught junior his catechism, either, as the boy seems completely unaware that Momma's mortal body (along with, presumably, her freakishly humongous shoes) will not meet Jesus until after the final resurrection.  Assuming she doesn't end up in hell--or make a pit stop in purgatory--her spirit is the most that will be meeting Jesus tonight.
He counted pennies for what seemed like years
What it seems like is that none of the other fine people in line are ever going to get home to celebrate Christmas Eve with their families.  Seriously, the kid is trying to purchase a pair of luxury big-and-tall shoes with pennies?  What would that take--2,500 pennies?  5,000?  Where did all these pennies come from?  Why did the singer not mention that the putrescent little ragamuffin was pushing a rusty wheelbarrow full of coins?  
And cashier says "Son there's not enough here"
He searched his pockets frantically
For the extra 1,200 pennies, presumably.
And then he turned and he looked at me
My aching back, here we go.  At this point, the other folks in line are throwing their gifts on the ground and storming out of the store.
He said, "Momma made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without"
What kid is going to say "most years she just did without"?  Honestly?  And, by the way, house doesn't rhyme with without.  I'm just sayin'.
"Tell me, Sir
What am I gonna do?
Some how I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes."
This is where the singer should explain to the kid the value of hard work and that, if the kid doesn't earn the money for the shoes himself, he's never really going to appreciate them. . .  and he should also explain the bit about the beatific vision being purely spiritual until after the Second Coming . . . 
So I laid the money down.
I just had to help him out.
Mostly, he probably just wanted the kid to shut up and move along!  (And down doesn't rhyme with out.)
And I'll never forget
The look on his face
When he said, "Momma's gonna look so great."
Now, I think we all know that this stupendously large pair of stiletto pumps probably appeared on eBay later that same evening.  Dude, you've been  had.  (And face doesn't rhyme with great.) 
I knew I caught a glimpse of heaven's love as he thanked me and ran out.
I know that God had sent that little boy to remind me
What Christmas is all about
Yeah, it's apparently all about waiting in line for "what seemed like years" on Christmas Eve and being forced to listen to a sad-sap fictional tale of woe--only to get swindled in the end by a manipulative little imp.  I at least hope that, during his ordeal, the composer of this song had better Christmas music to listen to than this!

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