Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Songs that Changed the Landscape of Human Thought and Understanding: Jingle Cats' "Silent Night"

There's no greater time of the year than Christmas, or, "the holiday season," as God-hating philistines refer to it. Christmas brings us many great things: ridiculously long lines in stores filled with cranky employees and impatient customers, pointless gifts from faceless relatives and co-workers, that neighbor with the gawdy Christmas decorations that brings traffic in your neighborhood to a stand-still, all those delayed flights and lost luggage, as well as the endless tears of spoiled children who got tons of gifts but didn't get that one ultra-expensive toy all their friends got. Clearly there is no better way to illustrate Jesus Christ's eternal and peaceful philosophy of free-market capitalism than through these joyous hallmarks of "the holiday season." But one thing that makes this part of the calendar year even more fantastic is Christmas music. Thankfully, it is played on a loop from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. These great tunes have been performed over and over over the years by every great artist, from a place deep within the heart known as "the holiday spirit." No artist has ever recorded a Christmas song because it would be an easy way to generate a quick buck at the end of every calendar year. No. These songs are recorded to pay tribute to the great Baby Jesus and his pagan, apocryphal saint brother, Sir Santa of Claus. There have been many great Christmas songs over the years, including "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano, "Little Drummer Boy" by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, and, of course, my favorite, "Funky, Funky Xmas" by the New Kids on the Block. There is, though, one breathtaking performance that transcends the holiday, and humanity, in fact.

In 1994, some groovy cats, LITERALLY, got together to record a version of the Christmas classic "Silent Night." The resulting sessions were pure magic. These cats, realizing this hot cut had potential, instantly dubbed themselves Jingle Cats and cut an entire album of classic Christmas carols known as Meowy Christmas. The rest is music-making history. There are several obvious reasons why people responded so posivitely to the Cats' version of "Silent Night." First off, cats are singing the song. We all know that everybody simply loves cats. They are like soft, fluffy pillows that purr and sleep, a lot. However, if you rest your head on the pillow incorrectly, it will scratch the shit out of you with its razor-sharp claws. Plus, cats cannot talk. So to hear them sing, and to sing so wonderfully, is not only surprising and damn near scandalous, but inspiring. Secondly, the gentle acoustic guitar and keyboard accompaniment perfectly complements their soothing little kitty-cat voices. This becomes entirely obvious during the second verse, on which the little tigers modulate their voices. The lyrics in this verse are completely inspirational, especially when the little furballs sing, "Meow meow meow, meow meow, meow, meow meow meow meow, meow meow." So what if their voices sound like they were generated by a state-of-the-art late-1980s synthesizer. These lines give full meaning to both the birth of the Baby Jesus as well as to the joyous "holiday season" he envisioned all those years ago when he was just gleam in his Daddy's eye. As the Jingle Cats so wonderfully remind us, "Meow meow, meow meow / meow meow meow, meow meow." Truer words have not been spoken.

Here's the CUTE video. On a scale of one to ten, it's a BONKERSxINFINITY:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the NKOB clip. I forgot the funkaliciousness of the 90s bad-boy quartet. Yo. And if you miss them, too, not to worry, Donnie isn't just lurking and shaking in Bruce Willis's bathroom on FX every other Saturday afternoon. He's still working the NKOB beat.