I’m now multi-lingual. When it comes to Christmas.

17 Dec


I’m here to tell you that any song, no matter how great, can be ruined by the “repeat” function on your iPod. So now, imagine what that function can do to a song that’s not great. In fact, imagine what it can do to the entire Glee album. THE HORROR.

[I’m embarrassed to admit that I own more than one Glee album, so I need you to be loving, kind and gentle with me during this post. No judgements, and no derisive remarks suggesting I add “Fame” to my Christmas WishList. I’m trusting you here.]

Even worse than a language I don't speak: squeaks.

Anyway. Last weekend I got in the Christmas spirit. After making some holiday-ish desserts (by which I mean a tub of frozen brandy slush), I selected “holiday” as the genre on my iPod and kicked back with a stack of cards to write. The music started great with Peanuts Christmas by Vince Guaraldi. Then it transitioned to some indie holiday tunes (This Warm December) by mixed artists, and I was still smiling.

And then… it cycled into an album titled something like “Christmas Around the World.” For some reason, these songs were 20% louder than everything else on the playlist. And in languages I couldn’t understand. And featuring slightly obnoxious guitar lines. And maracas.

The first time they came on, I scratched my head thinking, “This is awful. I can guess the words because I know the tune, but really? El Niño de Tambor? Sounds more like a tropical storm than a little drummer boy.”

Then, the second* time I heard the playlist, I thought, “Wow. This is just obnoxious. Each country should be forced to come up with their own unique melody to add lyrics to, instead of repurposing the classics in other languages.” Then I remembered “Oh Tannenbaum” and felt guilty.

Next* time around: “What IS this album? Where did it come from? How do I even own it?”

And the last* time: I was singing along. As it turns out, I can now wish you Christmas in Spanish, French, Portugese and some African language I assume is Swahili. Also, if anyone need a little niño with or without a tamborine? I can totally hook you up.

* = sequence/accuracy of events might be comprised due to brandy slush consumption.

11 Responses to “I’m now multi-lingual. When it comes to Christmas.”

  1. k8edid December 17, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Okay, I need 2 things now…..a paper towel to clean the coffee I spewed out guffawing and the recipe for the brandy slush.

    • pithypants December 17, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      I might have to share the brandy slush recipe. Because it is a holiday classic and absolutely divine. Think Spanish slushito and you’ve got it. (See? I really *am* multilingual!)

  2. Lorna's Voice December 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Where can I buy that non-PC holiday tunes album? Those sound like fun tunes! 😉

    Great post! Hope you didn’t get a headache from the tunes or the brandy!

  3. The Byronic Man December 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I think I burst a blood vessel and developed tremors in my hands trying to hold in snarky comments about the Glee albums. Still trying. Still trying.

    And it’s just not Christmas until you break out the Swahili.

    • pithypants December 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      I’ll consider that restraint your holiday gift to me. Because I know, I waved a big ole target out there with Glee. I’m embarrassed to admit I own it, but – and I can’t decide if this makes it better or worse – I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay for it.

  4. thesinglecell December 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    I couldn’t quite understand your complaint at first, because when I hear about songs in different languages I actually perk up. It’s a weird choral singer tic. (I’ve sung in Swahili, in fact.) But then when you mentioned El Nino de Tambor, I understood. Don’t eff up the brilliant American stuff with multicultural inclusion, people. That sh*t is not cool. In fact, it’s pretty annoying. “Jingle Bells” in Polish? No thanks.

    Also, when you said you’d hit the holiday option on the iPod and this stuff all came out, I sort of thought your iPod had conjured it all on its own instead of you having uploaded it all. And I haven’t even had a brandy slushie. Sadly.

    • Anja@ www.pcprima.de December 19, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      Jingle Bells in Polish is as not cool as “Stille Nacht!” (Silent Night) in English! This Christmas carol by the Austrians Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber has been translated into 30 different languages.
      Just because you hear a Christmas song in English, its origin is not English as well.
      I’m sure that there are many more songs that are commonly know where its origin is from a different country/language.

  5. Alicia December 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Pithy, my sister, add Norwegian to your list of multi-lingual holiday songs after giving THIS a few listens:

    (hint: watch the man with the maracas)

  6. Kelly Thompson December 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    As a radio announcer who’s been playing Christmas tunes from Thanksgiving to New Years for more than 20 seasons now, I hear ya, pithy! Although I do count among one of my favorites a non-traditional tune called “Italian Santa Claus” which has just enough Italian in it to be fairly cool…and comfortably under the “annoying” radar. Anxiously awaiting the brandy slush recipe. kt

    • Alicia December 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      My sympathies to you, Kelly. I bet Dec. 26 is a real cause for celebration!

      • pithypants December 22, 2011 at 8:44 am #

        I’ve never considered the plight of the dj. I’d imagine the holidays bring a higher-than-average resignation rate in that field. Now to go find Italian Santa Claus…

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