Today’s Song of the Season may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise you there is not a person reading this now who would not benefit from a deeper appreciation of it — especially at this joyful but reflective time of year.
Ray Davies was not rock’s greatest composer, but what he remains is its finest social satirist. There was, frankly, no lyricist working during the golden age of rock who could skewer a fat, juicy target any better using a minimum of well-chosen and razor-sharp words.
More often than not, the group on which, and for whom, Davies took his deadliest aim and saved his sharpest arrows was Britain’s lower class, whose abject poverty and hand-to-mouth existence often seemed more a matter of haughty British tradition than it did personal choice or human failing. Hence the songwriter’s jaundiced and occasionally caustic eye, something on full display here.
This long-forgotten rocker, from the man who would emerge as the godfather of all things punk, reminds us that not everyone’s Christmas will be a white, billowy occasion for overindulgence, warm friendship and gift-giving. For many, it will just be another day of more of the same — more hunger, more crime, more hopelessness and more despair — only colder.
Enjoy today’s Song of the Season, my friends, a little-known holiday gem that provides us a sobering counterbalance to all that seasonal joy in which so many of us find ourselves drowning each December: the Kinks’ Father Christmas.