Friday, December 12, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is a New Holiday Song

Ever since Love Actually came out, Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been hard to avoid during the holiday season--making it exponentially more popular than any other Christmas song from the last 20 years.

It's a bouncy tune, and Mariah really sells it, but all the same, I wondered whether it had the staying power to become a holiday classic. It feels so commercial and the title is so obvious; also, I didn't know whether people liked it for the song itself or for Mariah's performance of it.

Well, yesterday I witnessed a major milestone in the unstoppable march of "All I Want For Christmas Is You" toward holiday ubiquity. On the street corner outside my office, at lunchtime, a brass band--probably fifteen people total--oompahed their way through "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Instrumental. No singing.

So this proves that the tune has become popular, and recognizable, and evocative of holiday cheer, even when it's divorced from the lyrics. And so I'm afraid we'll be hearing it even more in years to come. What do you want to bet that Mannheim Steamroller's next Christmas album will feature "All I Want For Christmas Is You" orchestrated with lute, recorder, and 80s-style synths? When that happens, we'll know the song is really here to stay.

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