Forget ‘Vision of Love’. Forget ‘One Sweet Day’. Forget ‘Hero’. Mariah Carey’s greatest contribution to pop culture was, and remains, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. It’s damn near impossible to write a modern-day Christmas song that will last the test of time, but this looks like it might be a plausible contender. Since it first came out in the 90’s, it’s been a seasonal staple, and with all the cover versions piling up, it seems in no danger of fading away. Plus, it’s catchy as hell and makes everyone feel a little bit better, no matter how Grinchy some of us want to be.
I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you.
From the opening bells and the bombast of the initial build-up, to the bouncing bass and timeless pop melody, it’s about as near to perfect as a Christmas song gets. Coupled with the romantic yearning that informs more holiday music than you realize, it’s one of those cozy and sweetly earnest songs, the kind that tugs at heartstrings and hope, leaving a giddy taste of love ~ a love made all the warmer during the holiday season.
All the lights are shining so brightly everywhere
And the sound of children’s laughter fills the air
And everyone is singing, I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won’t you bring me the one I really need
Won’t you please bring my baby to me?
This song was the starting salvo of the Structure holiday music tape – something that played perpetually in all the long hours of holiday retail work I did in the 90’s. But as annoying as the “You mean you forgot cranberries too?” bullshit holiday songs could get, this one never got old. Even at the end of a long day of dealing with irate customers and even more irate managers, I felt reinvigorated when it started up again. It spoke to a lifelong search for the one – that person I wanted so badly – the only one I wanted beneath the mistletoe. Even if I didn’t know who that was then, I knew the longing, and I knew the want.
I just want to see my baby, standing right outside my door
I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you.
BONUS UPDATE: These boys from Oxford know how to play too…