Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, Christmas music is playing in nonstop rotation at home, in stores and pretty much any place they can think to pump in music. I don’t know about most folks but I’ve had enough of Mariah Carey to last a lifetime. And Feliz Navidad? Please don’t put that earworm in my head. Once I hear that song it takes hours to make it go away.
Before everyone starts calling me Ebenezer Scrooge, let me say for the record that I ENJOY Christmas music. I really do. For the most part it is light, fun and festive. Some of the soft instrumental versions are actually quite soothing compared with the chaos of the season. I’m fine – dare I say, even delighted -- listening on nonstop rotation, especially since it only lasts about 30 days each year. Rest assured that around our house, Christmas music is on the “do not fly” list the other 11 months of the year. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all of that stuff.
Every once in a while, I start to focus on the lyrics of some Christmas songs. I shouldn’t. Generally, all it does is send me down a rabbit hole. “Why drill down on the lyrics?” some will ask. “Why not just enjoy the mood evoked by the song?” others will ask. “Good questions,” I will respond. Quickly followed by “No such luck.”
Not sure why but I recently saw the lyrics to “Deck The Halls” printed somewhere. Now “Deck The Halls” is a perpetual crowd-pleaser. It’s about decorating the house for Christmas, for gosh sake! What could be bad about that? Nothing bad, but did you ever look at the lyrics printed?
There are 49 lines of lyrics in the entire song. Want to guess how many of them are “Fa La La etc.”? Come on, take a wild guess.
The are 32 LINES comprised entirely of “Fa” and “La”. That’s nearly 65% of the song!!!
Isn’t that like someone writing a novel and filling 65% of the pages with “yadda yadda yadda”?
The melody of “Deck The Halls” is attributed to an old Welsh song written by John Parry, a Welsh harpist of the 1700s. I give Mr. Parry high marks for the music. It is fun, lively, and joyous.
The lyrics, including all measly 17 lines of them that aren’t “Fa La La”, are attributed to a dude named Thomas Oliphant, who first published the song in 1862. It may just be me but I’m thinking our guy Thomas should have delayed publication until 1863 and spent a little more time fleshing this thing out a bit. A little “Fa La La” business would be fine at the end of a chorus or something. But I feel like Thomas could have put more effort in. The entire chorus is ALL “Fa La La” and it gets repeated 4 times during the song. Sorry, Thomas, but you need to stay after class for some extra credit assignments.
Has this ever bothered anyone else? Be honest with me.