Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Do They Know It's Christmas?

For the first of the Christmas songs that I decided to share, I’m picking one that may seem a little odd, but it really is one of my very favorites. The original “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by the original 1984 super-group Band Aid. You could technically call it an 80s Christmas song, but for some reason, decades don’t really matter to me around the holidays, so to me it’s just a sweet and beautiful Christmas song. I loved this song before I was ever a fan of 80s music as a genre, but I have to admit I have a new found appreciation for it now that I'm more familiar with its generation. Every time I watch it or listen to it, I seem to notice another 80s popstar I had missed. The last time I heard it on the radio, I finally recognized John Taylor from Duran Duran. But it's hard to miss the 80s setting, especially in the music video. The size of the hair and the ridiculous amount of eyeliner dates it effectively. But as a recent convert to 80s music, I feel like that's part of its bizarre charm.

The lyrics have been recently criticized for everything from racism and stereotyping to outright lies. Some of the lyrics were rewritten and recorded by the new Band Aid, and I reject that version, not because of the lyrics, but because the new super-group didn’t seem that super to me. When this song was originally released, the lyrics were not criticized, the musicians not ostracized (at least not as much as recently) because everyone knew what they were hoping to do – bring attention to and raise money to help fight a terrible famine in Africa. And it worked. Save the Children and the Ethiopia Famine Relief Fund both profited greatly from the record.

Honestly? I can’t take it that seriously. Not seriously enough to criticize it for Western-colonialism, not enough to praise it for being a partial-Savior of Africa. They tried to do good, and they did, so good for them. We also got a really fun song out of the deal, that is completely different from any other Christmas song out there. I love it. But then I may be prejudiced by Bono and his solo. As a pretty rabid U2 fan, this is the first part of the song I bellow at the top of my lungs. Besides, any video with so many mullets is guaranteed to make me giggle. Always a bonus.

Politically incorrect? I don’t care. Odd? Probably. Awesome? Definitely.

What do you think about this song? A little too untraditional or awesome because it is untraditional?

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