Paul Simon, ‘Getting Ready For Christmas’ – Song Review
Artistic license should perhaps remain limited when one approaches a few revered American traditions: the 'Star Spangled Banner,' cold beer and Christmas music.
Paul Simon's political opining and a heavy-handed production technique on 'Getting Ready For Christmas' creates one of the most irritating songs of the season since the Singing Dogs sang 'Jingle Bells.'
If one gets past the first few, trippy seconds of back-and-forth guitar riffing, you get to a lyric that, while unconventional, rings of some Christmas value:
"From early in November to the last week of December / I got money matters weighing me down / Well the music may be merry but it’s only temporary / I know Santa Claus is coming to town," he sings.
Samples of pastor J.M. Gates preaching from 1941 are interspersed throughout the cut. In any other context this would be an idea worthy of praise. It seems Simon is working to teach us that materialistic cravings that surround Dec. 25 aren't worth nearly as much as family and friends, but he wraps his message up in paper that isn't just taped shut, it's hot-glued, cemented, clamped shut and protected like the last slice of pumpkin cheesecake by Aunt Bertha.
"I got a nephew in Iraq / It’s his third time back / But it's ending up the way it began / With the luck of a beginner / He’ll be eating turkey dinner / On some mountain top in Pakistan," Simon continues. To his defense, this song came from the 2010 album 'So Beautiful or So What.' That's prior to the U.S. pulling the majority of troops home from the Middle East. Why so much skepticism during the season of joy, Paul?
Listen to Paul Simon's 'Getting Ready For Christmas'