In defense of “Wonderful Christmastime”
It’s that time of year. The Christmas tunes are out in full force. For the most part, I’m not a Christmas music stan. I don’t hate it, but a little goes a long way, you know?
But I have a confession… I actually love Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”
Over the years I’ve run into more than a few people, in person and online, who’ve expressed outright loathing for the song. It is, it’s true, not McCartney’s strongest composition. It’s not in his top 100 best. But.
It’s simple. It’s catchy. It’s the audio equivalent of a cozy and relaxed celebration with your loved ones around Christmas. For me, it brings to mind that magical couple of hours on Christmas morning once the presents are opened and everybody’s just together and content.
The simple lyrics and melody are a feature, not a bug. The cheesy synths? Pure icing on the cake.
It doesn’t hurt that the song imprinted on my brain well before I was old enough to have any concerns about having “cool” opinions around music. It was released in 1979 and became a fixture on radio. I don’t really feel like it’s the holiday until it’s been on regular rotation.
“Wonderful Christmastime” is also impossible to cover well. McCartney’s is the Platonic Ideal of the song, and it’s utterly impossible to make it more fun by going more cheesy or make it “better” by taking it more seriously. The Shins, Barenaked Ladies, Kylie Minogue, and many others have tried. Accept no substitutes.
What’s your take on “Wonderful Christmastime”? Favorite Christmas tunes? I’ll cover some of my favorites tomorrow.