Plus: a Christmas dining tip exchange, gift cards, and the worst song ever.
"The worst song is “Happy Birthday” — an insipid song with boring lyrics made worse by the fact that ordinary people who normally don’t sing are called upon to sing it, off-key and out of time, right at what is supposed to be a moment of celebration. Why we inflict this song upon ourselves is beyond me — I like cake, I like candles, I don’t like the song, and I think we should find a way to phase it out."
Your slow but steady descent into being this generation's Andy Rooney continues apace. By the way if this gets a lucrative gig to having a 5 minute segment played on a show watched by 30 million people then power to you.
I sort of enjoyed that period prior to ~2017-ish where "Happy Birthday" was still not in the public domain, and restaurants all had their own weird takes on the songs so that they didn't get sued. These weird takes were usually bad, but at least they were different. All of the embarrassment of a public birthday celebration, none of the predictability!
The worst thing about “happy birthday” is how slowly it’s usually sung. I’ve tried to pick up the tempo and get it all over with sooner, but people resist.
My personal nomination for worst song is "Horse with No Name"
I sometimes make a joke out of playing "Temporary Secretary," which is an even more "jarring collection of sounds" (it makes you feel you are having a stroke), although I guess it has the advantage over "Wonderful Christmastime" of not being cloying. I'm convinced Paul wrote it to win some bizarre bet, you can tell from the album cover that he is horrified by his creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi6pu_thrMs.
Evidently he recorded both "Temporary Secretary" and "Wonderful Christmastime" over the same weekend to test out his synthesizer - maybe there was something in the water.
Once when I was a student home for the holidays, my parents took me out to dinner after picking me up at the airport. My mother, who would get excited about such things, told the waiter that it was my birthday. The waiter indicated that he would bring an appropriate dessert, and my father got agitated. “Don’t sing,” he basically shouted. “We’ll have a celebration for her at home. SO DON’T SING!”
Weird Al's "Happy Birthday" song - which is from the perspective of a person who shows up to parties and wants to have conversations about air pollution and global hunger - is a large improvement on the original song.
I hate the birthday song so much I have literally forgotten the lyrics for it - what do you say after the happy birthdays?- I always sing "what day is today, it is your birthday, what a day for a birthday - let's all have some cake" from Futurama. Now that's how you write a birthday song.
When I went on a McCartney kick, I was horrified to find that there’s a “Full Version” of Wonderful Christmastime. As if the version that’s out there isn’t enough.
I have to dissent on the Manhattan Christmas dinner suggestion. Almost any prix fixe holiday dinner (namely Thanksgiving and Christmas) includes food that is non-routine for that restaurant and very often reflects that lack of expertise. So you end up paying a premium for mid-rate prime rib, turkey, or some other weird holiday fusion concoction. I've never left a holiday prix fixe dinner with anything but disappointment and a much lighter wallet.
A group of four is small enough for almost any Manhattan apartment to accommodate. Cooking the holiday meal, or even picking up catering from a high-end grocery store, is almost certainly going to yield a better experience.
I never sing happy birthday if I can help it, but for those in my circle who have a good sense of humor and are not easily offended, I will send a link to or play the Arrogant Worm’s Happy Birthday song. A friend shared it with me on my birthday for the first time many years ago. Here is the link for anyone else in need of a change: https://youtu.be/ARUePNnxkA4
I do believe that Josh has earned the title of “The Birthday Grinch”.
Can’t believe it wasn’t “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “I Only Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”!
Josh, I feel compelled to defend Happy Birthday for one reason only--it was helpful for people who couldn't count during Covid in terms of how long to wash their hands. :-) Plus you could do it silently, by far the best way to "sing" it.
Spot on, re Wonderful Christmastime - hadn't thought about it before, about the pauses; late solo McCartney, loved by Linda and stoned, and a man who could do anything musically including write jingles, quit editing himself, is the contention of my couchmate - so the few legit hits are overshadowed by jingles that go on and on repetitively (e.g. "Listen to What the Man Said"). I suppose he's had time to ponder this as he spends a lot of time on the road: he claims they seem aware of this weakness on the all-Beatles Sirius XM channel and stay away from solo McCartney, but not completely.
He nominates that post war music 'product' "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"as worst ever Christmas song. (He made a list some years ago, kept in a file on his computer: #10 was "Away in a Manger".)
I gave AIWFCIMTFT a listen, or as much of it as I could stand - you got a problem with a "jarring collection of sounds" - combine it with cynicism and Okie exploitation - I really think the cheese stands alone.
Huge dodge on "Do they know it's Christmas", why can't you condemn this monstrosity?