“All I Want for Christmas Is You”
By Mariah Carey
It’s the song that launched a thousand memes a month or two ago, as we awaited the start of the holiday season and this song to be heard on the radio. If you take all the radio stations playing Christmas music, it’s probably on the air continually from November 1 through December 26.
Yes, it’s Mariah Carey and holiday classic, “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. This is one of the few songs since, oh, 1970 that has actually gotten so popular that it’s become a holiday standard. Most original Christmas songs linger only for a year or two after being released on an album otherwise filled with yet another recording of the songs from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
But not this song. This song has taken on a life of its own. From the opening glockenspiel progression, this song is instantly recognizable. The full orchestration that follows gives it a sense of importance and power that says “Yes, the Queen is here, you will be merry and jolly. Just try to not be full of cheer!”
I am being a tad hyperbolic, but you get the idea. This song is synonymous with Christmas in so many ways that the memes are accurate — this song is the barometer for when stores will put up Christmas lights and Hallmark Channel will start their 1.2 thousand hours of continuous Christmas movies. (Don’t check my math, but it seems right.)
This song is… well, it’s okay. It’s majestic and slick and polished and produced to the North Pole and back. Ultimately it’s harmless and fun and high energy, and it’s definitely part of that zeitgeist.
I’m going to include another version in here, too. This is the version from Love, Actually, the 2003 romantic comedy that is problematic but a staple in our household. It of course features Mariah’s version, but it also includes this version put on as a school performance. There’s plot points behind it, but you can enjoy it all the same if you haven’t seen the movie.
Tomorrow — it’s all over again, in a song that I’ve had some changing feelings about.