Frightened Rabbit – It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop

Technically two singles, one from 2007 and one from 2008, but they’re the same song, and I sure downloaded them as one, so let’s cut the crap and consider it one unit, okay? Okay.

And now: a message from our pal, Mitochondria Mike!

Mito-chon-dria Mito-chon-dria Mito-chon-dria Mike!

“Hey I’m Mitochondria Mike, without me you die, big whoop. You know what else? Peanut butter. It’s not goddamned butter at all and who cares? They say to store it in the fridge but then it gets and cold and clammy and useless why don’t you LIVE A LITTLE and keep it in the cupboard and maybe you have to stir it a bit before you use it but it takes creamier and doesn’t take so much goddamned”

Mito-chon-dria Mito-chon-dria Mito-chon-dria Mike!

The song itself is rather wonderful, with a nice complicated riff that takes a good twenty seconds to get through and only sounds somewhat Christmasy. There are backup vocals chanting all choir-y-like, but it’s a sad song, and a rather direct one, about being nice to people you don’t like on Christmas because you have to be around them and you lose the urge to be nasty on a day when everyone’s celebrating. There’s lots of hints at sad family occasions and reminiscing about childhood, what with lines like “The rest of our lives will be just like Christmas with fewer toys / You’re a good girl, I’m a good boy” that come about 60% of the way to making me tear up. And, of course, others about knowing that you’ll go back to being bitter and angry the next day. Now me, my Christmas memories involve awful yelling standoffs with my now-dead mother and now-estranged brother, but the idea of Christmas as a day to be nice to your family is cute and isn’t overly farfetched. It’s a good song for undressing your demons of family occasions past and peeling them away so that you’re naked with your inner longing to feel safe and loved.

Then there’s an entirely choir version, with a 40 person choir humming the whole melody mostly wordlessly. Christmas songs apply well to choral versions, and it’s a pretty, pure-sounding melody even if four and a half minutes is a bit much. Then there’s the “2008 Version” which reforms the song with more indie guitar and piany emphasis. I don’t like it as much stripped of its pretensions, but maybe you’ll like it more you freak. “It’s Christmas, so press pause,” they say, “a perfect excuse to forget our natures and wear shiny clothes,” and it’s hard not to be nostalgic when Christmas is the one holiday all the world celebrates. Silly starving Muslim nations, don’t they know it’s Christmastime?

8/10

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