So, yesterday we covered La Bouche, and the voice behind the hits, Melanie Thornton. Well, around that same time period, I was also really into No Doubt. I guess it all came down to local radio: DC had just gotten a pop station with the arrival of Z104, but there were only so many times that Billy Bush could play that Ultimate Dance Party ’96 CD without you wanting to go on a killing spree. So, I’d switch over to the late, great WHFS (the good one, where the Spanish station is now) and get my “alternative” fix. Sure, No Doubt eventually made their way to the Z104s of the world, but for this moment in time, “Just A Girl” and the like were still confined to specific genre stations.
Now, I didn’t actually discover this song until many years after it came out. In fact, it was during my stint as a retail slave at H&M that I first heard it, as it was part of our “hip” holiday playlist. That playlist was a welcome change, as most of H&M’s music choices sounded like the soundtrack to a date rape at someone’s loft. Anyway, being all European and whatnot, the company’s Christmas music skewed towards the secular, especially when it came to groups with the words “Good” or “Charlotte” in their name. I remember not even really thinking it was a holiday song at first, as it was so…different. You know what first caught my ear? The mention of “nunchucks”! If you hear any reference to nunchucks, and your ears do not perk up, then you cannot call yourself a man. And then I was like, “Oh, shit! Haji just pulled a sword?!” Once you go back and listen to the thing from the beginning, then you realize the ska “Joy To The World” melody, and well as the “If God came down on Christmas day” reference.
I think I also like this song for the same reason that Tony Kanal probably liked it: it wasn’t about HIM. By this point, I’m surprised that Tony never stormed off stage with a “God, bitch! Fucking get over yourself!” Anyway, this was originally a song by The Vandals, but they were friendly with No Doubt, which paved this way for this cover. It’s not the kind of song that’s gonna make you reach for a cup of cocoa and turn on The Grinch, but it does prove that there’s no one way to make a holiday song.