It’s that time of year again. Yes, the decorations and trees and sales abound…but what I really mean is…it’s that time of year when we hear 2 familiar ballads.
Of course, I’m talking about “Happy XMas (War Is Over)” and “Wonderful Christmastime.” Both Christmas songs, both written in the 70s, both written by Beatles, and both tunes that stick to you like a snowflake on a Chrysler.
That’s where all the similarity stops. As a die-hard Beatles maniac growing up, I became enamored myself with the characters behind the music, and if anything could describe Lennon-McCartney, it would be “yin/yang.” The former raised largely by a single parent and a rebellious child of social services; the latter formed by prestigious education and organized religion. The former cheating on his first wife to marry a modern artist, the latter living 30 monogamous (so we think) years married to an establishment debutante.
For me, however, their differences are most poignantly illustrated by these two songs. The first is brooding, political, and social in significance and unpleasant to ponder (as was its writer in 1971, the year it was written). And the second? A jingle: catchy, light and easy on the ears…precisely like its writer the year it was written.
And despite all these juxtapositions, when they collaborated, these two musicians penned perhaps some of the greatest tunes of all time. It’s a nice reminder to me when my yin is countered by a yang. Rather than dissect what is “wrong” with that yang, I have instead learned to intentionally study the strengths that can be had when these forces combine.
All that said, don’t you think it’s sort of hard to take this dude seriously?