The year 2008
The singer Lady Gaga
The song Christmas Tree
Great Christmas songs have undercurrents. For example, ‘Fairytale of New York’ is about a couple figuring out if what they have is worth it. There are multiple levels to songs, some physical and other spiritual. Straddling the line between physical and spiritual is the sexual and hence today’s entry, ‘Christmas Tree’.
Written and recorded in 2008, this song did not chart very highly. It was not released on an album and so was download only. It has made it onto a Now Christmas album so is not perhaps totally unheard of, but it is a bit of a risky choice because of its subject matter.
The tune heaves with a synthpop rendition of ‘Deck the Halls’ providing the meat of the music. Lady Gaga borrows from ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ with a sensuous rum pa pa pum. It is undoubtedly a Christmas song as it plays with traditional compositions in this way.
Where it draws some criticism is from the naughtiness of it all. It drips with innuendo.
The only place you’ll wanna be
Is underneath my Christmas tree
As a result, it has been criticised for not being especially family-oriented. Maybe.
But as I said yesterday, ‘Fairytale’ is about two substance abusers tearing lumps out of each other, and I distinctly remember it getting a lot of airtime. Why is a song about a relationship on the rocks at Christmas fine but a song which camply plays around with sex in a very loose way non grata?
Perhaps it’s a little on the nose (“oo-er, missus!”) since she directly talks about taking off clothes, but the song is redeemed by one salient fact.
In fact, if you go back into the annals of history, you’d find the holiday Saturnalia in the Roman calendar. For a whole week, they didn’t work. Instead, they danced and drunk, and there was an atmosphere of carnivale. The slaves became the masters, normal social rules were turned on their head. It wasn’t till the Christians got their hands on power and remade Saturnalia into Jesus’ birthday that these traditions went out.
But they are still lingering. Christmas is a time for the cold to warm up. For the word ‘faggot’ to be temporarily acceptable as we all sing ‘Fairytale’. It is a time for us to come together and have a bit of fun.
Though be aware of your company and use your judgement.
It absolutely deserves its place on this list. Come back and join me tomorrow for another song!
The writer of this piece should eat dinner