I had planned to be leaving Minnesota soon for the warmer, greener pastures of Los Angeles, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way and I’m still trying to decide where I want to be. Part of me, after days of selling cheap scarves to suburban women with tiny eyebrows and sparkles on their jeans, wants to cash in my savings and move to Hawaii. To be honest, I just feel kind of down and sad lately. Nothing is working out the way I want it to, which is the one biggest truth about adulthood I’ve learned thus far.
Winter in Minnesota is always tough, and this year looks to be no different. I’m already sick to death of the cold, which bites my hands and draws frosty patterns INSIDE my car windows. Why does it do that? I sit shivering in my car, which struggles to defrost itself even though I’ve been running it for twenty minutes, and I am miserable.
My retail job plays sunny, happy holiday music but to be honest, at this point of the season I just kinda wanna wallow in some sad, sad songs and hide on the couch with the cat. Do you also feel this way? Good, because I’ve made you a mini-playlist just for that purpose!
Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton
Of all the Christmas songs that play on our canned station, this is my favorite. Queen eternal Dolly sounds so hopeful, but so hopeless all at the same time. Maybe she’ll dye her hair, move away, drive so far they’ll all lose track … but maybe she won’t. Even though she says she’s determined not to get bogged down by sadness, she probably will anyway.
If We Make it Through December by Merle Haggard
I live for the Hag, even though I feel bad for him because he spawned all those awful “Mama Tried” bumper stickers and tattoos. When I’m feeling really, really bad, you can tell because I’m playing Merle or George Jones. (I was listening to George when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend.) Anyway, this incredibly depressing song is about a guy who loses his job and is worried he can’t make Christmas special for his daughter, so like, bingo, time to cry. Any country song about dads and daughters makes me cry on command. I just like to repeat “If we make it through December we’ll be fine” to my coworkers when pushy customers demand we gift wrap a $10 scarf.
December by Regina Spektor
“December starts on Sunday/next Sunday/won’t you feel happier then?” I’ll just leave that here.
2000 Miles by the Pretenders
This is another “not Christmas-themed” song that made its merry way onto the Christmas playlists. And it’s a real bummer. Chrissy Hynde sings about a love who has gone far, far away from her loving embrace – 2000 miles, to be exact. She misses him, even though he claims he’ll be back at Christmastime. For her sake (and my own) I hope that’s true.
River by Joni Mitchell
Why this has been adopted as a Christmas song I don’t know, but it’s so perfect and beautiful that I’m OK with it. (I am NOT OK with the James Taylor version. Yuck.) I suppose you could lump it in the Christmas genre because it sounds reminiscent of Jingle Bells and Joni references Christmas, but what she’s really talking about is hurting her lover and wishing she could escape her heartache. So, um, not that Christmas-y at all, but Joni’s gorgeous soprano feels like a cold knife stabbing you in the heart.