Today’s selection comes from my friend Joe (who’s already responsible for subjecting you to Justin Bieber): Fall Out Boy’s “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out” (2003). Sadly, there’s no video, so please to enjoy a few minutes of the band just staring at you.
Let’s do the numbers.
- Does it mention Christmas by name? Yes, explicitly as well as via some punnery in the title.
- Are there bells in it? Right at the beginning, but then that’s it.
- Is it jolly? It’s really not. It’s not sad or angry or anything – it’s Fall Out Boy, so it’s a little wry, a little bitter – but despite the theme, I wouldn’t characterize it as a seasonal song.
This is a strange one for the list. It hits most of its marks, and it’s enjoyable enough, but after a promising start it sounds pretty much like a Fall Out Boy song rather than a Christmas song.
Well so what? Shouldn’t a band sound like itself? Let me explain what I’m getting at here. As I’ve discussed in a few previous entries (e.g., Colbie Caillat and the aforementioned Prince of Darkness), there’s a balancing act at work in a good holiday tune: Like any good gift, it’s got to be from you, but it’s also got to be for them.
Consider Leona Lewis’ “One More Sleep.” DEFINITELY characteristic of the artist, but also undeniably of the season. On another angle, we’ve got Harvey Danger’s “Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas,” which tips farther toward the artist musically and yet is solidly of-the-season in tone. It’s not just about lyrics (Fall Out Boy hits that mark), it’s more about what’s being said. That needs to go beyond a good pun.