CHRISTMUSE RISING by Jaimie Vernon


One thing the nine months of The Eternal COVID Darkness has given us is a short reprieve from the rampaging assault of shopping mall music. Without the frequent stops at the McMall a few times a week to lose hours of one’s life jockeying for parking, hitting the food courts, and indulging in one’s fetish for window shopping at stores no one can afford, we have been spared music dialed in from Satan’s radio station itself.

That includes the inevitable and expected daily double infection of Christmas music everywhere: in zombiefied shopping centres, on zombified transit, and in our cars when we venture out to battle the zombies at Loblaws for food once or twice a week. We are currently in the opening sequence of a new horror film called Christmuse Rising. This year it started at 12:01 AM following Labour Day weekend. I believe the powers that be are working toward Christmas in July come 2021 or worse – Christmas 365. You’ll know it from the shotgun blast to the temple that is Mariah Carey’s tits hitting that high note.

But we need Christmas this year. Badly. We need some semblance of unity in Whoville. A collective “Dahoo Dores” to allow us a slice of what was once normal.
Welcome Christmas come this way
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas, Christmas day

Welcome, welcome fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome dahoo damus
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your cheer
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome all Whos far and near

Welcome Christmas, fahoo ramus
Welcome Christmas, dahoo damus
Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9NoXo6qz2A

The problem is that we’re leaning on that past to direct us through the mist and fog. It’s not conducive to putting us back on track to whatever we find on the other side of this long, dark tunnel. During wartime we didn’t stop creating new music in hopes of starting fresh once the war ended. Music was created during and despite of the war. And we’re in a war right now – one against depression, self-harm, and outward grief and anger. Christmas, as a concept, is one we try and use to stave off all those emotions (with varying degrees of success). New Christmas music is imperative. It’s far more constructive than debating for the 40th year-in-a-row whether McCartney shit the bed with “Wonderful Christmastime” or not. [and the answer isn’t yes or no…the answer is to listen to a cover version and see if it’s just as insipid.] To wit,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJULc4ztD7I

There are artists making new Christmas memories and hats off to the ones that did so this year. It’s been beyond difficult for musicians to create and be creative while in suspended animation with the rest of their career all year. Imagine, if you will, being locked in a box and still finding enough elbow room to sing a song or two and collaborate with other people locked in other boxes.  Then you take that collaboration and broadcast it to the world in an effort to entertain millions of other people locked in boxes. It’s a Dr. Seuss parable writ large. To that end we’ve been given some fresh takes and new songs to get us through 2020’s Lockdown Christmas.


Molly Johnson has been a fixture on the Canadian music scene for well-on 45 years. She’s a vocal chameleon – comfortable in blues, R & B, jazz, rock, and even pop. For her release this year she has given us a four song Christmas EP called This Holiday Season. Check out the song “I Don’t Like Christmas (When You’re Not Around)” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwdt2Hc79Jc

If your bent is for frivolous pop Christmas tunes, Queen of the 1990s Gwen Stefani returns with a Hallmark Christmas theme song called “Here This Christmas.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQMkPKQ3s5c

The ladies are well represented this Christmas as Canadian jazz and rock chanteuse Lee Aaron has conscripted her band in a series of lockdown zoom videos. This past week they took a crack at Pet Shop Boys’ “It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqjdpG8YgDM

It wouldn’t be Christmas without our favourite cherubic Canadian-by-way-of-California Peter Foldy giving us a new Christmas track. 2020 is no different. He writes his own material and always manages to invoke the season. “This Christmas” is true of that spirit. The song is getting some traction on Canadian radio as it’s contemporary sounding and fits in nicely with many formats. I suggest people call up and request it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGuENXCwweo

Former boy band heart-throb Robbie Williams returns with his new Christmas release called “Can’t Stop Christmas” which addresses our global situation directly.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW4nXP9N7Fg

Then there’s stuff you may have missed over the last few years because you were Whammed so often Christmas music has given you PTSD (Post-Tinsel Seasonal Disorder).


Not everyone may be aware but I’m in a band called Mr! Mouray. In 2018 we needed a buffer tune between our first album Bats In Disguise and the next EP. I dug out a Christmas tune I’d written in 1980, dusted it off and split the vocals with regular singer Simon Bedford-James and (then) drummer Domenic Whelan called “Christmas Belles”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQoaeelH658

Once upon a time I was in another band called Moving Targetz in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. In the early 2000s the guitarist and I tinkered with one of our better known songs and made it into a Christmas track. When my record label, Bullseye, released the Takin’ Care of Christmas CD in 2001 we included it. Check out “Here Us Now, Our Christmas Song.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HV-KCIBvZ4

Home Free are a touring and recording a cappella act that are a cross between a boy band and a country act. They’re basically a Bro Country version of Canada’s The Nylons. Check out the incredible version of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” filmed in an ice castle in Minnesota in 2015.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIQQDYaoWpc

They also take on “O Holy Night” and destroy all other versions. Meanwhile, they have a new holiday album out called Warmest Winter and the lead-off single is called “Cold Hard Cash.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4wOkFtfhCw

=JV=

Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 41 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 24 years. He is also the author of The Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and editor of “Sunny Days: The Skip Prokop Story.” Available through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jaimie+Vernon

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