In what’s become a beloved Christmas tradition, listeners are getting treated to a new song sharing the spirit of the season… by a Jewish pop star.
Paul Simon’s the latest Semite to jump on the Yuletide bandwagon with “Getting Ready for Christmas Day,” a thumping, blues-tinged tune “with no mention of Jesus, Mary, Joseph or any of the rest of the gospel crew,” according to the UK Telegraph, whose site is streaming the song “exclusively.”
“I got a nephew in Iraq/It’s his third time back,” the song opens, signaling Simon’s intention to create a holiday tune that’s as discomfiting as cozy. Strumming guitar and low, bluesy growls contrast with a propulsive beat and Simon’s earnest, uninflected vocals. The ditty “eschews the corny musical clichés of sleigh bells and choirs in favour of pursuing its own seasonal high spirit,” the Telegraph opined.
As the newspaper noted, “Simon is following in a long line of Jewish musicians making merry on this Christian holiday, including Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow, Beck, Carole King and a born again Bob Dylan.” Superproducer and convicted felon Phil Spector “practically remade Christmas in his own wall of sound image,” the Telegraph noted, with “A Christmas Gift for You” and “Phil Spector’s Christmas Album.” “And back in 1966, a little known duo called Simon & Garfunkel released a Christmas album, ‘A Very Merry Christmas.’”
Simon’s Christmas song is from a forthcoming album on Decca, ‘So Beautiful Or So What,’ which will be out in May next year, the Telegraph said.