"Sure, the sentiment is simplistic and overbearing—much like another favorite of mine, John & Yoko’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (which is wedged between Band-Aid and Bolton on Now That’s What I Call Christmas)—but I think that’s why it’s so powerful: a child (myself at eleven years old, for example) can hear it, sing along, and at some point after countless reps of the refrain ask a couple of simple questions: Who are “they,” and Why don’t they know it’s Christmas? In this many, the song is the musical version of the storefront Salvation Army bellringers, only the Christmas bells are accompanied by extravagantly rich and famous, mostly British Eighties pop stars. Both use those bells to strike a common note in the listener, and remind us of “the world outside your window,” if only for a moment."

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AuthorJohn Proctor