Bold words, I know. But they’re accurate.
“But Victoria,” you’re asking yourself. “There are a ton of Christmas songs out there, and a lot of them are incredibly lame.”
Yes, I know. This one is different. It has a complex narrative. It will make you experience emotions you didn’t know you had.
“But Victoria,” you’re saying. “Some of us don’t even celebrate Christmas. We don’t care.”
That’s all right! It’s got nothing to do with Santa Claus or Jesus or anything, so even people who don’t celebrate any holiday at all can appreciate it.
“Victoria,” you’re saying now. “Stop using this dumbass rhetorical device and just tell us what the song is.”
It’s Fairytale in New York by the Pogues and Kristy MacColl.
What is not to love about this song? It’s sad! It’s heartwarming! It’s totally punk! There are drunk Irish people, and a little adorable flute!
In all seriousness, this song does such an amazing job of capturing that bittersweet feeling that comes along with Christmas in New York. Sure, the tree at Rockefeller Plaza is nice for a visit, but something about the long, cold nights and tiny apartments start to make you feel crushingly lonely. And then the drums kick in and you’re up again because you have to be, because this city is definitely not going to stop for you to work out your problems with emotional dependence because there are papers to write (although not anymore, technically) and presents to buy and the day already feels over because it’s been dark for hours and you just have to keep going. And then at a certain point you want to call someone you love an “ass.”
Perhaps I should feel weird about the fact that my favorite song about my favorite holiday in my favorite city is so… depressing when you think about it. But it’s still such a gorgeous song. It’s art and beauty being born from grittiness and pain. It puts that fire in your belly to go out and do something — or at least, it puts one in mine.
Rudolph and Frosty are great, but they can’t do that to me. This time of year, only the Pogues can.
Well, them and Nellie McKay. So maybe I should feel weird about my choice in Christmas music after all.