It’s time again to wrap up another year of the Christmas Song of the Day. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for five years (four years on this blog, one year on Facebook). In that time, I’ve shone a spotlight on 155 songs of the season that I feel deserve more attention than they get from mainstream radio. I hope you’ve enjoyed these forays into the vast universe of seasonal sounds, and God willing and the creeks don’t rise, I’ll do another set of ’em in December 2019. Perhaps this new year will be when I finally write about stuff the other 11 months, too. We shall see.
Frankly, my Christmas Song of the Day for December 31 got so much airplay in the years after it first came out that I never thought I’d feature it in a series such as this. But, if I’m lucky, I might hear it once a season these days.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a shame that Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion (born 1968) will probably go down in history for her overly bombastic song from Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On,” which, since it became a hit in 1997, has become the bane of talent-show judges around the world, among lots of other bad things. Why? Because, when she and her producers want to display it, Celine has a wonderfully versatile voice. I love her 2001 hit song “A New Day Has Come,” for example, and she did a live version of “River Deep Mountain High” on Late Show with David Letterman in 1994 that was truly thrilling. (It got the attention of none other than Phil Spector, who produced Tina Turner’s original version in 1966; Spector tried to produce her next album, but the sessions ended in failure.)
At the peak of her popularity, in 1998, Celine released These Are Special Times, an underrated Christmas album. I don’t think I really appreciated how good it is until a 10th anniversary reissue in 2008. Not only does it have her takes on songs you’d expect her to sing, but she does nice versions of others. The originals, though, are where she shines brightest.
One could certainly argue that “Another Year Has Gone By,” a tender celebration of a long-term relationship in the same vein as Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One,” is only a Christmas song by association, because of its first line mentioning 25ths of December. The rest of the song could take place any time of the year. But, to me, it’s no less a Christmas song than “Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins, which has become a regular part of holiday playlists. Also, New Year’s Eve, which is certainly part of the Christmas season, is a traditional day to look back to see where one has been.
“Another Year Has Gone By,” co-written by another Canadian, Bryan Adams (born 1969) — yes, the same guy as “Summer of ’69” and a whole bunch of other 1980s and 1990s hits — has been known to make me get watery-eyed, because at this point in my life, I doubt I’ll ever be in a romantic relationship long enough to be able to look back at years of love. It hasn’t happened so far, so why should whatever time I have left be any different?
But I digress. “Another Year Has Gone By” is a really good song, even if it stirs weird feelings inside me.