It appears today’s scheduled Holiday Horrors post is experiencing technical difficulties. In the meantime, please enjoy this pinch-hitting horror. For other Holiday Horrors posts, click here.
I hate to pick on Neil Diamond, but…Actually, scratch that. I don’t hate to pick on Neil Diamond at all. He’s kinda ridiculous, in a way not totally unlike another of my favorite giggle targets, Danzig. He has that perfect blend of theatricality and self-importance that I really admire in a figure of mockery.
Having mentioned Neil’s rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” (and his Christmas special) in a previous post, I figured that was enough Diamond bashing for one holiday season. But then my cousin hipped me to another one of his Christmas tunes. I am so glad he did, because this is a goldmine (if goldmines contained rich veins of turd instead of gold).
It’s called “Cherry Cherry Christmas”. Perhaps you’ve heard Neil’s smash 1970s hit “Cherry Cherry”. When I first heard Neil Diamond wrote a song called “Cherry Cherry Christmas”, I thought it might just be a repurposed version of the earlier tune. You know, with the lyrics altered slightly. “She’s got the way to Yule me!”
But it’s not. And amazing as this might sound, you’ll wish it was once you hear “Cherry Cherry Christmas.”
I didn’t even know what to say the first time I listened to it, because I didn’t really know what I just heard. Did Neil Diamond just take the title of one of his biggest hits and slap it on a holiday song? One that doesn’t sound anything like the original?! One that namechecks other songs of his? And not just a few times, but constantly throughout the song?!
Seriously, can you imagine anyone else doing something like this? Of course you can’t. Only Neil Diamond has the sheer balls and lack of shame to pen and perform a song in which he wishes everyone a Neil Diamond Christmas.
To really appreciate its grandeur, you need to break it down piece by piece.
Start: Swelling music, jingle bells, flutes, glockenspiel…oh, this is going to be a soft, sentimental Christmas song. That sounds nice…
0:13: Wish you a very merry, Cherry Cherry Christmas/And a Holly Holy holiday too…That is the first line of this song. These are the first words you hear in this song. Look, this tender holiday-themed music isn’t to get you into the Christmas spirit. It’s to get you to check out the remastered Neil Diamond back catalog, currently on sale at Amazon, iTunes, and Best Buy.
If Neil had done this as a rollicking, tongue-in-cheek holiday song, it might have worked. Might have. But The Jazz Singer would have none of that. No, his song about how everyone should have a Neil Diamond Christmas is very serious and can only be appropriately expressed through the use of harp and a 40-piece string section.
0:45: After a bunch of oppressively dumb lyrics (and another shoutout to one of his own compositions, “Song Sung Blue”), Neil ends the first verse with these words: You’ll have a very merry, Cherry Cherry, Holly Holy, rock n’ roll-y Christmas this year. Just a reminder: Neil Diamond was born in 1958. He is not 6 years old, as these lyrics might indicate.
1:11: Feels like pretty amazing grace/If you know what I mean…No, Neil, I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean. Unless you’re referring to the song “Pretty Amazing Grace” off of your 27th studio album, Home Before Dark, which I’m sure can be picked up at Borders and all fine retailers at a reasonable price.
1:29: In a world of make believe, I’m a believer/And I believe in things not always understood…Did you know that Neil Diamond has a wonderful plan for your life? He’s so magical, he can even reference songs he wrote for others but never recorded himself!
2:03: Let’s raise a Christmas toast of red red wine/We’ll even sing “Sweet Caroline”/While the whole world sings along…It take a special kind of man to not only reference two of his own songs in one verse, but insist the entire world will be chanting one of them in his honor to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Is that because Jesus’ mother’s name was Caroline, or because he’s a Sox fan?
2:13: Cue the sax solo from “Just the Way You Are”!
2:44: Makes you wanna have a very merry/Holly Holy/Cherry Cherry/Christmastime the whole year long…Sorry Neil, I think in such a world, the survivors would envy the dead.
3:20: He ends by yelling out CHERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! Because if you’re gonna write a Christmas monument to yourself, the time for restraint has long since passed. You go out with a bang, not a whimper. VERY CHERRY NEIL DIAMOND-MAS IN BLUE JEANS, EVERYONE! AND A HOT AUGUST NIGHT TO YOU AS WELL!
Congrats, Neil Diamond. You’ve written the most self-serving piece of Christmas dreck ever. You may collect your prize from the bursar.