The other night, my husband and I were on our annual drive to collect what turned out to be an only-marginally-deformed Ikea Christmas tree (last year's was truly defective, but this one has only one funny empty patch that can be camouflaged by way of strategic bulb placement), and we were listening to that radio station that's been playing Christmas music since June (the one that features DJs who sound increasingly exhausted, rattled, defeated and drunk).

We were driving along, happily criticizing some familiar Christmas standards, when we heard a song. A song unlike any other song. A song that was released in 2000 and that I somehow missed until now. A song that caused us both to lapse into a stupefied silence and then dementedly and desperately struggle for words as though trying to speak English for the first time in the middle of an emergency.

The song is called "Christmas Shoes", and it's by a Christian group called New Song. It may well be the most stunningly appalling song ever written. If it were only half the song it is, it would still probably be the most appalling song ever written. And it keeps getting worse - that's the most amazing thing about it. You hear one verse and think, "surely that has set a new standard of awfulness and the next verse cannot be any more astonishingly awful" and then you hear the next verse. And it is worse. You start with a poor and raggedy child who wants to buy shoes for his mother. Then you find out his mother is very sick. Then you get the raggedy child looking forward to his dying mother MEETING JESUS. Then you get the narrator claiming that God has made this urchin's mother terminally ill to help the narrator appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. Then, when you think your brain can hurt no more, there is a children's choir. 

Here's a link to the youtube video. It's actually worth going to the website itself to read the comments section and to realize that you are on one side or the other of a great and unbridgeable divide. You will either be one of those people who questions why a young ragamuffin would want to buy his dying mother footwear, why the be-turtlenecked (I was going to go with "en-turtlednecked", but decided the "be" sounded more sophisticated) singer is sitting on a giant tree, and why anyone, ever, would listen to such a song by choice, or you're one of those people who can barely type your response to the video through the tears you're crying over that poor, poor boy who wants to make sure his mother is well-shod for Jesus.
You will be, if not in good company, at least in company whichever side you're on. Patton Oswalt has transformed his amazed horror into a Christmas stand-up routine.
And if you're one of those people who can think of nothing more moving than a man in turtleneck and blazer singing Christian things about death and a terrifyingly didactic and heartless God, you might enjoy both the BOOK AND MOVIE based on this song. 

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 
12/21/2011 09:03:22 am

What I love most about the music video is that the medicine on the mum's bedside table suggests all she is suffering from is a sinus infection. Haven't these people heard of antibiotics?


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