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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Fuck Your Christmas.

My favourite Christmas song is by Counting Crows. It doesn't officially have a name, as far as I know, and it's never been recorded. You're only likely to know the song if you are one of about nine people who collect Counting Crows bootlegs, or if you've ever been lucky enough to hear this at a show.

The Crows have a song called 'Goodnight Elizabeth' - a beautifully poetic and painful song -- when they play it at live shows; it morphs into these eleven minute versions where anything can happen in the middle. The song used to be played in a pretty standard way from 1993 through to 2000, and then it began growing into the thing it is today; a versatile song that can offer up a million different things, it just depends what mood you catch Adam Duritz in when he hits the stage. There are many incredible versions of the song; with him singing all sorts of things in the middle. Versions that come to mind have him singing Van Morrison's 'Sweet Thing' in the middle, or 'California Dreamin'' by the Mamas and Papa's (you can hear this on Youtube, if you look up 'Goodnight Elizabeth Pinkpop').

But it's not those versions that I'm talking about. It's the Christmas version which often comes up in concerts as the year is heading to a close and, I guess, the lead singer is beginning to reminisce of love gone by and the Holiday season approaching.

The beautiful piano work of Charlie Gillingham breaks down the middle of the song as the guitars take a back seat... and up steps Adam to begin telling his tale of woe about Christmas. Sometimes the song is angry, sometimes it's mournful, sometimes it's plain poetic. Sometimes you just can't tell. The good thing is, whenever he does dive into 'Fuck Your Christmas' - he really means it. I don't think he could fake it if he tried.

He talks a lot before and during the song at live shows about how the song (Goodnight Elizabeth) is about a girl he knew back when the band were first getting big-- they dated, it was a big deal - and as he began touring, they began hitting problems, and she was gone by Thanksgiving.

And the song (Fuck Your Christmas, in the middle part of 'Goodnight Elizabeth'), as you'll hear quite plainly from the lyrics, is about him struggling to come to terms with things at Christmas. And the painful truth of the song is that he knows he's not going to be with the girl he loves, but at the same time, he doesn't want to be alone, he's not going to be alone, he can't be alone. It's pretty painful. Luckily, this isn't the most painful version - in fact, he doesn't even say fuck in this clip.

I guess it's Christmas coming down,
I don't wanna go back home,
If I'm not gonna be with you,
I don't wanna be alone.

I guess it's Christmas coming down,
I don't wanna go back home,
If I'm not gonna be with you,
Then I don't wanna be alone.

Screw your Christmas coming down,
I ain't gonna go back home,
I don't wanna be with you,
And I'm not gonna sleep alone.

I don't wanna-- I don't wanna sleep alone.
I don't wanna go home.
I don't wanna go home.

What's amazing is how he takes this already perfect song, 'Goodnight Elizabeth' and adds a whole new level of meaning to it. So, yeah. This is my favourite Christmas song. Other than this, it's 'River' - but I'm feeling less like 'River' this year, which is a good thing, surely.


Care to share?

2 comments:

  1. I too am a Crows Bootleg collector somewhat. And the Christmas one is amazing especially when you watch Duritz sing it on the "live at bimbo's dvd."

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  2. How is it I just found this great post. i am one of the 9 cc bootleg collectors and i think this is easily the best alt. I especially like it when he combines xmas w/ the radiation vibe alt.

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