#84 – “Christmas Cards” (1993)
A.S.: Merry Christmas, dear reader!
L.K.: You’ve heard of Christmas in July, but we’re going to make Christmas in April a thing now.
A.S.: And what better way to celebrate with a jaunty, probably improvised tune about stolen Christmas cards?
L.K.: I guess I didn’t realize that this was originally from a 7″! It’s the flip side to “O Tannenbaum”, which I also didn’t realize was recorded at a soundcheck at a high school. (This song was recorded in a studio in Brooklyn though.)
A.S.: Yep, a transparent, green vinyl 7″ nonetheless. I’m surprised this wasn’t recorded at a soundcheck either, given the really slapdash nature of it.
L.K.: Yeah. This whole thing seems really shoddily put-together, but then again, such is the nature of holiday singles.
A.S.: That is true, it does hold up to that one extremely stupid Beatles Christmas single. A couple repeated phrases over a bunch of jamming.
L.K.: I get the feeling this song was just recorded so that they would have something to stick as a b-side to the recording of “O Tannenbaum” that they actually recorded the previous year. I don’t know if it’s as bad as that Beatles single though… that’s pretty, uh… yeah.
A.S.: It is certainly better than nothing. And yeah, I can’t be too hard on this one. It gets points for sheer weirdness, and if there needs to be an aimless jam recording, at least it’s an uptempo aimless jam.
L.K.: The cover artwork for this is really cute though, but I would probably be pretty offended by it if I were Flans…
A.S.: Flans was much leaner than that in 1993!
L.K.: Maybe if his glasses were a bit more visible the artist wouldn’t feel the need to make him look about three times the size of Linnell!
A.S.: You know, it has been a little while since the Johns have done any sort of holiday-related songs, hasn’t it?
L.K.: Yeah, it has, but I mean… I’m not really bothered by that.
A.S.: They do have their fair share.
L.K.: With most artists, it’s an obligation rather than something they actually enjoy, and the music noticeably suffers as a result. Besides, the best TMBG holiday song is still officially unreleased!
L.K.: The terrible ones will always win by sheer volume alone. I really wish people would stop buying them. For the record, the only christmas album I sort of enjoy is Leon Redbone’s, and the only Christmas song I really love is “Thank God It’s Not Christmas” by Sparks. Okay, that and “Santa Dog” by The Residents. Chanukah (sp?) albums might be more fun since at least the songs aren’t so horribly overplayed, but I don’t see that becoming a hip new trend among any artists except Jewish ones.
A.S.: There’s really no correct way to spell Hannukah, and that holiday doesn’t have nearly the sort of significance as Christmas does (it’s not Biblical!), so that’s problematic too. Also, if they’re just going to sound like that fucking Adam Sandler song, I’d rather have more awful Christmas songs.
L.K.: I guess I was thinking more like Klezmatics or something. Fuck Christmas, I just want klezmer.
A.S.: There are a nice handful of great Christmas songs out there – The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” being the best, also the Sparks one, “Santa Dog” yeah, “Christmas At The Zoo” by The Flaming Lips, The Fucked Up (and guests) cover of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. And of course, the Bob Dylan album, Christmas in the Heart. That album is Christmas.
L.K.: Oh god…