Wonderful Christmastime, by Paul McCartney
The opening synthesizer riff of “Wonderful Christmastime,” symbolic of the song’s late-‘70s production era in the same way air raid sirens are symbolic of World War II, serves as kind of an early warning signal: “change the station,” it calls out. “Change the station before Paul lets us know that ‘the moon is right.’” And we do. Yet radio keeps playing it and shopping malls slather us in its goo as if doing so isn’t just one more excuse to shop online.
It would be shocking, really, to consider that the guy who gave us “Live and Let Die” and “Maybe I’m Amazed”—and who was at least 25 percent of The Beatles—managed to scribble out, record, and actually release a song containing such lyrical damage as “The choir of children sing their song / ding dong, ding dong / ding dong, ding / ohhhh / ohhhhhhh,” and the phrase “simply having a wonderful Christmastime” repeated 75 times. Until, of course, you realize that Paul McCartney is the evil genius behind “Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs.” He’s also the guy who stole Stevie Wonder’s mojo—an artistic assault with a deadly weapon from which the latter has yet to recover, three decades later.
Clearly, although Sir Paul is a Music Legend with a Ton of Talent, he’s not infallible. “Wonderful Christmastime” serves as an argument in favor of middle management, because someone expendable needs to be able to tell the cash cow, “No.”