Christians love death at Christmas time. These two Christmas songs deal in the kind of mortality that is only hinted at in "Frosty The Snowman." He dies when the snow melts, but ominously proclaims that "he will be back someday." He doesn't even say when, and that's messed up.
You never hear about Santa dying in his sleep next to his Mrs. Claus and waking up in a cold embrace or a reindeer falling to their deaths in mid-air after an elf doesn't properly secure the reins in other secular songs, but Christians will make you remember death.
There's nothing like basking in the miracle of the birth of the Christ Child, our savior, to a virgin mother, and having a guy come up behind you and say "Yeah, well he's gonna get the shit beat out of him in like 33 years so you can have an affair with your secretary and not go to hell."
Mmmm, gingerbread cookies!
"Born to Die"
That's the premise of "Born To Die," a morosely slick number from Christian duo Shane & Shane and Bebo Norman. Imagine if Elliott Smith went to Bible college and sang about salvation and forgiveness instead of heartless bitches. We can't hate on S&S; the song is catchy and well-produced. It's the message that freaks people out. It make you start thinking about dead babies, and that's no fun.
Also, Bjorn To Die would be a cool zombie ABBA cover band. Ed. Note: Or an ABBA/Zombies cover band.
Then on the other hand, you have Newsong's "Christmas Shoes", which is sort of the unofficial Christmas jam for the godless, irony-laden masses. "Pssh, Christmas songs. Gimme the Bright Eyes Christmas album, thank you very much," they will say rubbing their beards next the French press. You know that French press is better, right?
The thing that throws "Christmas Shoes" over the wall of irony and into Tear Land is obviously the child trying to buy a pair of shoes for his mother to wear in her casket when she dies and gets buried. A dead mom during the holidays is awful. A kid who doesn't know that corpses are buried without shoes is worse.
So who wins out of the two? If we are going for John Mayer-style emoting, which we almost always are, then we go with "Born To Die. But if we want to remember that our parents are mortal, then it's "Christmas Shoes."
In the end, we want to hear some sort of modicum of history, so it's "Born To Die," plus it's also the title of a mad decent Grand Funk Railroad album and title track.
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