Monday, December 22, 2008

My version of “The Christmas Shoes”


Sentimental songs that tell a story are an easy target for parody.
Whenever I hear “The Christmas Shoes” on the radio, I want to mock it. Maybe it’s my twisted outlook on life. but I can’t take a sappy song like that at face value.
My wife, on the other hand, says the song about a boy buying shoes for his dying mother almost brings her to tears.
One problem with story songs is they can be criticized for poor storytelling. They can’t have any plot holes or logic problems.
In the case of “The Christmas Shoes,” the young boy has gone to the store without any adult supervision. He’s also left his mother on her deathbed to buy her a pair of shoes.
The song is told from the perspective of a shopper waiting at the checkout counter behind the boy. The narrator ends up buying the shoes for the boy after the kid tells his sob story about how he wants his mom to look pretty in case she “meets Jesus tonight.”
Sometimes I find myself singing lines from the song out loud at home or in the car and making up my own lyrics.
In one version, he’s an Iraqi boy trying to buy a pair of shoes to throw at President George W. Bush. Based on a true story!
In another, he’s the Artful Dodger conning some dumb mark into buying him a pair of designer shoes by Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo. Of course, the boy will return them in short order for a big payday.
Both are more entertaining than the original performed by Christian music group NewSong in 2000.

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