Monday, December 13, 2010

I Identify with the Horse (My Strangest Post Yet)

To people who know me, it goes without saying that the repetitious nature of supermarket / shopping mall Christmas music makes it harder to enjoy the season.  I've heard those songs every year for going on four decades now; they've lost their novelty.

And most are novelty songs.  Those are bad enough, but when I'm standing in line at the market is the time I'm least likely to be moved by the other kind of Christmas songs ... religious songs.  I'm just not in the mood to fall on my knees and hear the angel voices - not when I'm stuck in the tabloid aisle trying to escape with my groceries.  (I used to love Nat King Cole's version of "O Holy Night", only long after dark when I'd be with my folks, after we had run out of talk and were just enjoying our tree.)

But this year it hit me why I can't stand "Jingle Bell Rock" - I identify with the long-suffering horse!  Not kidding.  That horse appears in several songs, always pulling a sleigh all by himself.  (Songwriters are always specific on the latter point.)  In the original version of "Jingle Bells", he even goes astray and crashes; it's not clear if the animal is injured.  Perhaps he was moving too fast?

In "Jingle Bell Rock", he's told to move faster and pick up his feet.  This time, it seems he's moving too slow.  Clearly the creature is overworked, lonely, and unappreciated.  And lest you think he's contributing to some economically or medically vital process, oh no!  It's clear that the only goal of these icy excursions is to entertain people.  Talk about human arrogance!

Long story short, as a working guy I wish the songwriter would lay off his loyal beast, at least until December 26.


As a matter of complete coincidence, a video I posted to a much more serious, but tangentially related thread (on duty, masculinity, and gelding) features a one-horse open-sleigh.  Here's another song from the same album (same artwork):

2 comments:

JD said...

Great (folk) black metal piece you've picked up there, B. A kind of embodiment of the black metal soul (with some production values added). Vocals remind me of Burzum. What I like about that genre is the obscurity of it, it's really on the periphery of the metal scene in a lot of ways. Finding good black metal bands is like venturing through a dark cave with a glow in the dark pen.

B Lode said...

I love it that metal has given voice to the little guys of Europe. By little guys, I don't necessarily mean small countries, but countries that are easily forgotten. Maybe Ukraine is the Kansas of Europe, although obviously the "Bleeding Kansas" period was a cakewalk compared to what the Ukrainians went through.

Anyway, the point is, it's kind of hard to shame metalheads into shutting up. Playing a guitar that hard and that fast kind of makes it hard for the Cool Kids to mock you as a "history geek". (Which is my funny thought for the day.)