Thanksgiving isn't one of those holidays that keeps on giving. Songwriters certainly don't like it much. Oh sure, it's a game of pile-on when it comes to Valentine's Day or Wolf Appreciation Week, but put a stuffed bird on the table and suddenly it's writer's block for one and all. How hard can it be to write some stupid sentimental song about how wonderful it is to see all our relatives again and realize that most of us survived another year and don't look too much worse for the wear? People will buy this crap! And don't talk to me about "integrity." I watch TV. I hear the songs I love selling me cell phone service, computers and cars all day long. All the world's indeed a hack!
Now for the five songs unafraid to confront this dubious, gravy-laden holiday.
"Thanksgiving" - Loudon Wainwright III
Loudo has never tried to hide his privileged upbringing. How can you when you have a 'III' added to your name and your name is Loudon in the first place? The name practically guaranteed you a first class seat on the Mayflower. Here he recounts Thanksgiving the way people want to remember it. Quick, to the point, football on the TV, the spare bedroom for a nap. What? No drunken fights? No attempts by Uncle Ralph to drive home after 17 beers? No vicious pool matches with bald accusations about cheating? This isn't the Thanksgiving I remember.
"My Thanksgiving" - Don Henley
Sure, if someone's going to cash in on being thankful it's gotta be the guy who spends most of his time complaining about everything from corporate greed to man's selfishness and then charges up the wazoo for the tickets to see him complain in person. Maybe WalMart will sponsor the next T-Giving banquet at the Henley estate. Maybe I can get a job as a greeter? How awesome would that be?
"The Thanksgiving Song" - Adam Sandler
The Sandman knows how to work a crowd. He writes songs so you don't have to. Sadly, he writes better songs than most of the people who are employed to do so for a living. This guy's a comedian, folks. And yet he has mastered the nuance of writing something you actually remember after you hear it. Tell that to all those "amnesia rockers" out there. I'd give you actual names but I've already forgotten about them - proof that life is sometimes just like a David Crosby album!
"Thanksgiving Day" - Ray Davies
Check this out. Ray Davies is British. They don't have Thanksgiving in England. Because they're not thankful to be rid of us? Because they miss the tax dollars we used to send their way before we united and started printing our own money? Because the Red Sox have started winning the World Series again? And tea parties are no longer considered cool? Because Mick Jagger belongs to New York City more than London? Because British bands come to the US to achieve fame and fortune? Because we foisted Lenny Kravitz on them? Seems they have a point.
"Thanksgiving Day" - Johnny Dowd
This guy's from Buffalo. You ever been to Buffalo? I've only seen it in a Vincent Gallo movie and that Confessions Of A Matchmaker show and if that's what it's really like, no wonder God sends all the snow that way. I would too.