… like the others.

The context: Christmas songs.

The exceptions: Songs that mention a winter holiday but are not in spirit, sound or otherwise, holiday music.  Some of these songs are downright beautiful and I have to stop in my tracks whenever I hear them (Hallelujah, River) but they certainly do not put me in a festive or celebratory mood.  In fact, they can be  downright depressing.  Yet they are included in “holiday” compilations and played in stores with the usual holiday music.

Do we have here a case of subject / keyword confusion?  You decide:

“Hallelujah” written by Leonard Cohen (my favorite renditions are by k.d. lang and Allison Crowe)

One of sexiest and saddest songs ever written, but this “hallelujah” is not the Christmas-Baby-Jesus kind of hallelujah:

well, maybe there’s a god above
but all i’ve ever learned from love
was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
it’s not a cry that you hear at night
it’s not somebody who’s seen the light
it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

“River” written by Joni Mitchell

She just went through a break up.  She’s thinking of running away.  Not holiday music:

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and Im sad
Now Ive gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I made my baby say goodbye

“New Year’s Day”  written by U2

Okay, maybe this one is just me, but every time I hear this song I think it’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and that doesn’t put me in a holiday mood either, as much as I adore U2:

And so we’re told this is the golden age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes
On New Year’s Day