ADVENT PLAYLIST 2014 | 24. “fairytale of new york”

Welcome to the 1%J 2014 1%J ADVENT PLAYLIST, in which we attempt to reconcile the simultaneously occurring but often contradictory spirits of Advent season and the “holidays.”  It has recently come to our attention that there’s a typo in this introductory paragraph thing, but we are going to leave it because now it is a “tradition,” like that blue streak through the T in “Deckmaster” on the back of Magic Cards. 

Guest post by 1% JIHAD friend harrison –

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If you are anything like me, your holiday season includes the occasional (but alarmingly more frequent) drunken misadventures and reminiscences of how you thought the previous year would turn out.  When you find yourself coming to fisticuffs with your best friends or just sulking in a bar watching hockey, “Fairytale of New York” is the Christmas song for you.

In your boozy emotional state, this Jame-o-soaked Christmastime ballad of holiday dreams and drunken failure by the best St. Patty’s Day band of all time communicates with you at a Siddhartha-like level of enlightenment.   On the surface this is one of the least joyful Christmas songs of all time, but it’s full of songwriting twists and turns to keep you just enough off balance that by the time Shane MacGowan says “Happy Christmas” tears of nostalgia are coming out of your eyes like it’s already New Years Eve.

Like that Charles Dickens joint, this song takes place in Christmas Past, Present and Future.  It starts out in Christmas Present as a piano ballad, with the poor bastard sitting in the drunk tank singing his intentions to do something good for his loved one.  He places his hopes in a bet that obviously won’t work out, which aptly foreshadows this dumbass’s tragic Christmas Future of sustained failure.  The song then time-warps into the couple’s happy Christmas Past, full of hope and dreams and NYPD choirs.  By the second verse though we are making our way back to the present as Shane’s girl tells him “you’re a cheap lousy faggot, happy Christmas your arse I pray God it’s our last.”  He says he “could have been someone” – she tells him “so could anyone.”  This is a Christmas song for reveling in failure.  This couple realizes that life is shit, but at the end of the song they realize that they are failures together and the NYPD choir is still singing and the Christmas bells are still ringing.  Whether you’re Christmas-wasted because you’re celebrating or because you want to forget, or a little of both, you should just remember that everyone fucked up their New Year’s resolution and probably feels a little like Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl.

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One comment

  1. […] 24. The Pogues ft. Kristy MacColl, “Fairytale Of New York.” […]

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