Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I'll Have a Bland Christmas...

I've never really cared either way for the holiday perennial "Santa Baby." Eartha Kitt's original version was fine, complete with male "ba-boom" vocals in the background and Henri Rene's sly swinging bachelor pad accompaniment. Recorded in 1953, when Ms. Kitt's shopping list ('54 convertible, yacht, a big fancy ring) was mildly amusing, as few gals really expected to get that. Still as far as Christmas songs about riches go, I prefer Pearl Bailey's "Five Pound Box of Money," for its sheer audacity, not to mention the singer's easygoing honesty, as opposed to Ms. Kitt's iciness.

When Madonna covered "Santa Baby," it came as no surprise. After all she was known as the Material Girl, and who better to make like she was entitled to the fancy wish list (or should that be "demand" list.). From what I recall, her version is pretty much a carbon copy of the original, which begs the question, what's the point?

But, it's all in the delivery, right?

Now, granted I'm behind the times by about seven years on this. But I was forced to hear Taylor Swift's version of "Santa Baby" recently, not knowing it was her or that it'sold news. Yes, everyone does a Christmas album these days, because it practically guarantees that no matter how bad your career goes, you at least get some airplay one month out of the year. (I"m talking about you, Wilson Phillips)
The thing that's so annoying about Ms. Swift's "Santa Baby," is that the modern country arrangement of the song was done completely by the numbers. They got the chord changes right. But there's no feeling. There's no camp to this song. There's not even any, um, sexy quality to it. Swift was 18 when the song came out, so she can be excused for not giving it that quality.

So all we're left with is a big-voiced gal belting out a shopping list for Santa, which in post-millennial years doesn't sound as outrageous because we expect to see pop stars with all sorts of bling, like a fancy ring and a convertible. And Taylor already has the deed that gets mentioned in the song. Which is probably why she doesn't sound any more believable singing this song than some 7-year old big voiced kid who you'd find on America's Got Talent. But she really doesn't (or didn't) have the credibiliy to pull it off. She would have been better off singing "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."

But then again, what do I know? I never get tired of the Singing Dogs doing "Jingle Bells."

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