Why “Little Saint Nick” is a Stupid Christmas Song

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I love Christmas songs. I do. But there is one that I hate – Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys. I love the Beach Boys, they remind me of being 7 years old and starting out majorettes and dancing with pom poms. Nice. But this song is just plain STUPID. Let me show you why.

Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

Oooooooo
Merry Christmas Saint Nick
Christmas comes this time each year
Oooooooo oooooooo

Let me stop you there. Christmas comes each year?!?! And at THIS TIME? Like, you mean, December? What happens if you’re listening to this in July? When I used to work at my local library on Sundays, we could play music of our choice and this one day we played Christmas music in July. True story. But seriously, do you really need to point out that Christmas comes each year, at “this time” (which we shall assume to mean December).

Well, way up north where the air gets cold
There’s a tale about Christmas that you’ve all been told
And a real famous cat all dressed up in red
And he spends the whole year workin’ out on his sled

I’m going to give you this “cat” business. American English is a strange thing. But does Santa really work out all year on his sled the whole year? Doesn’t he, like, look over the elves who are making the toys? But you’re saying he’s on his SLED? All year? If you say so…

It’s the little Saint Nick
Ooooo, little Saint Nick
It’s the little Saint Nick
Ooooo, little Saint Nick

Just a little bobsled we call it old Saint Nick
But she’ll walk a toboggan with a four speed stick
She’s candy-apple red with a ski for a wheel
And when Santa hits the gas, man, just watch her peel

What? The SLED is called “Saint Nick”? I think you’re a bit confused. The big MAN in red is Saint Nick. While we’re at it, do you, American men, know what a “speed stick” (which I imagine means “gear stick”) is at all? With your automatic cars? Really? Do you?
It’s the little Saint Nick
Ooooo, little Saint Nick
It’s the little Saint Nick
Ooooo, little Saint Nick

Run run reindeer
Run run reindeer
Whoaa
Run run reindeer
Run run reindeer

If this sled has a gear stick, why does it need reindeer? Stick to one story, please!

He don’t miss no one

And haulin’ through the snow at a frightenin’ speed
With a half a dozen deer with Rudy to lead
He’s gotta wear his goggles ’cause the snow really flies
And he’s cruisin’ every pad with a little surprise

Ahhhhhh
Oooooooo
Merry Christmas Saint Nick
Christmas comes this time each year

Oh hush!!

So do you believe me now? This song is stupid!

Mashups and Remixes

 

This is not necessarily a confession, simply something about me. I love mash up remixes. I love remixes of almost every kind – in Japan they have this amazing trend of releasing

albums of songs in a different genre, like pop songs done in regge, or jazz, or done like music box music. The downside to these is that they are usually sung by Japanese people so if it is an English song it will be butchered with terrible pronunciation. (I could only find Japanese examples, but find them here and here). A good example of Western remixes like that is Richard Cheese, who turns heavy rock music into jazz. Though his Bohemian Rhapsody is also pretty enjoyable.

When I was in 6th form, a friend of mine introduced me to Radio Soulwax, a group who make hour long tracks of tracks mashed together. I think the first one of theirs that I fell in love with was the Genie in a Bottle mixed with The Stokes (I can’t find it on Youtube but it’s pretty awesome.) The way they put music together is just amazing… One of the first long tracks I had of theirs is here on Soundcloud for you to listen to. This was pretty much the soundtrack of my 6th form life. If you like them, have a little search in Soundcloud and you can find many, many more.

I hadn’t really thought much about mashup music until recently, when the bfnd put on some amazing mixes. These happen to be The Kleptones. In general, all their tracks there (free to download) are amazing but I highly recommend Night at the Hip Hopera which is Queen tracks mashed up with rap music. When I spoke about this with my parents, they were outraged that people would do such a thing. But it really is amazing.

Along the same lines, is Arkham, who have made a track of Disney songs mashed with rap, called Walt Disnizzle. It’s quite a bit more heavy (sweary and political in places) but actually I listen to this more often than I do the Kleptones.

If you’ve got this far into this post and are thinking “omg this is amazing, I want more!!!” then I am doing some digging around Soundcloud for more amazing mixes. This playlist (which seems to be updated with new tracks every day) has some real gems.

I know this is a lot different to stuff I usually post – if there is anyone out there who loves this kind of stuff please share your favourite mashups and remixes!!

 

Clubbing in Germany

When I was in my first two years of uni, I used to go out clubbing quite a bit, I guess. Though I’ve never really been “into” it, I just went along with what was expected of me and what my friends were doing.

But when I was in Japan, the nearest club was a 40 min car ride away, meaning that I would have to rely on someone else and that someone would probably be driving back after drinking (as if often the case in rural Japan) and also I wouldn’t be able to just leave when I’ve had enough (probably way before anyone else). Despite this, I did miss having the chance to just get dressed up and go out. So, coming to Frankfurt, I was quite excited to go out and have some fun here.

.. but it hasn’t really turned out that way. I never seem to get round to sorting things, and fear of the music being… well, German -lots of noise and beats as opposed to things you can sing along to- has sort of hindered me.

One of the tallest buildings in Frankfurt is the Japan centre, and at the top, every month there is a party. We’ve been saying for ages that we’d like to see what it’s like up there and we finally made it last month, as a girls’ night out. We knew beforehand that they are a little picky on the doors, so we scouted out photos on their website to see what kind of things we needed to wear. Also, it’s always better to go in smaller groups to these things so we split off into smaller groups. As my friend and I joined the queue, it wasn’t so long and we only had to wait a matter of minutes before we were at the front. There were two boys – one Indian guy and one Chinese guy. The bouncer looked them up and down, said “Nope. Sorry” and jerked his thumb to the street to make them get out of the way. This was quite shocking to us… as we were next. I had started to wonder if I really wanted to go into this club at all now. But since we were meeting everyone inside, I went with it.We got in ok, though the guy wanted to know where we are from and wanted to check my friend’s age.

The party itself was ok… up until 11pm it wasn’t overly crowded, the drinks were nicely priced, and the view was breathtaking. However, as I had feared, it was 99% white middle class German 20-somethings. There was one well dressed East Asian guy, and one smart black guy. That was it. We got up to dance but the music was actually German beats-and-noise, up until midnight when they put the lights down low, said “this is when tonight’s entertainment begins!” and then started playing some chart music. But by that time, it was overly packed, people were bashing into myself and my friend and it was pretty unpleasant. By 1am I had had enough, and luckily my friends thought so too so I could go home without looking like a spoil sport.

The experience really made me wonder if I’m just too old and grumpy for this… I really hate having people bash into me – but isn’t that what clubbing is about? I spend half my time positioning myself so that when a certain person continues to knock me, they’ll get a nice sharp dig of my elbow instead.

I didn’t want to give up though. Around the Zoo and Bornheim area there were posters for a “we <3 the 90s” night. Perfect. We DO love the 90s! So we decided to go.

We were a group of 7 – myself and my friend from the Japan Centre party, her boyfriend, and 4 Nintendo employee friends. At the door, we were initially turned away – the bouncer saying that they had a dress code to stick to. What. I mean, I wasn’t in heals (purple flats), the boys were all in shirts .. though they did have trainers on – nice ones though… we weren’t any more casual than the people being let it. After being made to stand in a circle of shame for 5 mins or so, we were told we could go in. As we walked by a comment was made in German apparently not impressed at our lack of German skills. Whatever.

The night was a blast. They played really awesome music, we danced, sang, had oodles of fun. HOWEVER. The people around us were really Debbie Downers. They wouldn’t jump around and have fun like us – when the Macarena came one, we were the ONLY people dancing in the whole place. They did, however dance like idiots and keep bashing into us, so I had my elbowing technique at the ready again. For us, it was like a school disco. Most of the other people were about 10 years older than us, so I guess it wasn’t the same for them. But it was quite shocking how uptight they all were.

When I lived in Japan, I would have taken experiences like this and then make sweeping generalisations about the Japanese people. I won’t do that this time. German people just like different music, and like to stay a little more sane on the dance floor. It is a shame that they pack the clubs way too much – the 90s party had the same problem. It makes it so that it’s impossible to enjoy yourself because you keep getting hurt.

We’re off to the 90s party again next month… let’s hope it’s even better next time!

Online Music

Last week, the people in our office thought the world had come to an end. We didn’t know how we could go on, how we would be able to function in our daily lives with our loss. The German fun policing agency, GEMA, had stopped Grooveshark, the online music service. It was wonderful, you could (well, still can if you are outside Germany) listen to any music you like, for free, with no adverts cutting up your music. There were visual adverts on the page, but otherwise it was bother free, and completely legal.

It didn’t take long before the crying and slow rocking of my colleagues was unbearable and so I set about trying to find an alternative. Grooveshark itself mentioned Simfy.de.  So I went over to take a look.

Music-wise, it’s pretty good. It’s quite useless for Asian music but for Western stuff it’s pretty on the ball. There are some random artists and a small chart on the front page but it would be nice if there were more options to find artists if you don’t know quite what you want to listen to. But it’s quite good at recommending artists similar to ones you like, which is pretty nice.

The player it quite easy to use, and it’s easy to go round and make playlists. The player hides itself into the bottom of the page when not in use.

The part I like best is the radio feature. While Grooveshark itself was awesome, the radio on there was terrible. No matter what artist I chose, it seemed to want to plug the same random Russian pop to me, or it just didn’t remember that just because I was listening to j-pop, it didn’t mean that I wanted to listen to Berryz. No one ever wants to listen to Berryz. But on Simfy, I’ve not been disappointed yet. The only problem would be that it seems that as opposed to linking all songs and artists to the initial one you started the radio with, it links to the previous song (ie – above I started with Regina Spektor. They linked me to Vampire Weened, which is linked to Laura Marling, in linear links.) While not such a big problem, the other night when we had the radio on for a long time, it went on a tangent so big that we were laughing at the kinds of music it was bringing up.

I have joined the premium service so I can have Simfy on my iPhone too. It’s pretty good, but of course isn’t so kind on the battery. The basic service is good enough though and it’s a good replacement in our hearts for Grooveshark. Let’s hope GEMA doesn’t get its greasy hands on this one too.