There are many songs of the season that evoke warm feelings of nostalgia or spark childhood memories. For me, Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas” is one of those, as every time I hear it I can see the battered 8-track of my childhood, Burl’s white-bearded face smiling at me like Mr. Kringle himself. Other songs just evoke a joy within, not necessarily tethered to a memory but engendering a feeling of happiness and of the season. Again, for me, Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” (if that’s the name) are two of those songs. This post has nothing to do with anything that I have described above.
1. Have you ever really liked a song and enjoyed everything about it except one little thing that just starts to stand out to you every time you hear it? Then the more you hear it, the more time you spend dreading the part you don’t like? Eventually, you end up not liking the song nearly as much as you did and every time you hear it gets a little more disappointing? If no, then fuck off and read something else.
For my wife, one of those songs, I think, would be “China Girl” by David Bowie (and just now, the part she hates ran through her head and for a second she hates me just a little bit for bringing it up). For me, that song is “Paradise City” by Guns n Roses. The beginning of that song is like the perfectly distilled essence of what is good about rock music. The extended musical intro, the wailing refrain, simple and pure: “Take me down to Paradise City/ where the grass is green/ and the girls are pretty/Oh won’t you please take me home.” If for one song, I was blessed with the ability to play guitar, sing, and dominate a stage with my presence, it would absolutely be “Paradise City.” Except for one niggling thing.