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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 16 - "Blue Christmas" by Vince Gill - 25 Days of Christmas Angst

Look, a blue Christmas tree.
This song had to be on my list of Christmas angst songs. 

The real problem was deciding between the Elvis version and the Vince Gill version.  You can see Elvis perform the song here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ODrPL9-kEs and the music video for Vince Gill's version here:  http://youtu.be/s1gnWmDwBvg

This wound up being a simple choice.  Vince Gill's version taps into the real sadness of the song and does not give the listener the respite of an upbeat, driving musical arrangement.

If you must, there is also a slightly creepy remix of the Elvis video with Martina McBride mixed in as a solo and also added to the live performance video.   

Preview the remaining days of angst or 
review the previous days here:   

Thematically this song is in the company of many songs already on this list.  Longing for someone you can't have at a time when so many people are so happy together can be depressing.

Gill, thankfully, cuts a stanza that appears in most versions of this song (including the Elvis version):

And when the blue snowflakes start falling
That's when those blue memories start calling
You'll be doing alright with your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a bIue blue Christmas.

"Blue" as a color associated with sadness and depression has never really made sense to me.  It seems as though it should be black or grey.  The stanza that Gill removes takes out the one use of blue in the song that always seemed to take the symbolism one step too far:  "blue snowflakes." 

I understand that the singer is supposed to be seeing the world through blue colored glasses; this does not work because this is not how a depressed person sees the world.  The Rolling Stones get closer to what depression actually feels like with "Paint it Black." 

This song is describing something much closer to obsession or perhaps color blindness. 

Gill helps to avoid this problem in the song by taking out that stanza and making room for a moody instrumental interlude followed by simply repeating the main message of the song:  you are happy and I am not. 

I wonder if the singer is really missing this person so much or if he is jealous of her happiness?

Blue Christmas
as performed by Vince Gill

I'll have a blue Christmas without you;
I'll be so blue thinking about you.
Decorations of red
On a green Christmas tree
Won't mean a thing
If you're not here with me.

I'll have a blue Christmas, that's certain;
And when that blue heartache starts hurting,
You'll be doing all right
With your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.

You'll be doing all right
With your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.

You'll be doing all right
With your Christmas of white,
But I'll have a blue, blue Christmas.

Resources:
Lyrics
http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/christmas-song/blue-christmas-14347.html

"Blue Christmas"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Christmas
25 Days Of Christmas Angst
Day Song Download/Purchase Info
16 "Blue Christmas" by Vince Gill Buy the CD:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Elvis or Vince Gill?
I recommend buying Vince Gill's Christmas album titled, Breath of Heaven: A Christmas Collection. I have only been able to find it available as a physical CD, however.

Click this link to preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days:  http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas- angst.html
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