If there is a holiday song with a title that makes it acceptable to repeat it as a Friday song, “Christmas All Over Again” is just the ticket.
It is a cheeky Christmas rock song that seems to be gaining in popularity. On trip to Europe last week, I heard it played in stores as part of the normal Christmas musical repertoire. Add to this the fact that Petty just posthumously scored a Top 10 hit with “Love Is a Long Road,” and the artist’s music seems to be expanding its sizable corner in pop culture.
Recorded in 1992 for A Very Special Christmas 2 — the sequel to a 1987 album featuring U2, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Whitney Houston, the Eurythmics, Bryan Adams, and Run-D.M.C. — “It’s Christmas All Over Again” leads off an equally star-studded collection of songs from Aretha Franklin, Sinéad O’Connor, Luther Vandross, Michael Bolton, and a duet by Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper.
Written in A and with a tempo of 139 bpm, “Christmas All Over Again” is a fast song that moves right along, with a few classic Petty detours and complications along the way, including a sweet drum break. It is sung almost like a group of drunken fathers retreating from the holidays at the bar.
The ambivalence of the lyrics resonates for any adult who has seen more than a few Christmases, while providing a rich vein of playful emotions:
Long distance relatives
Haven’t seen ‘em in a long, long time
Yeah, I kind of missed ‘em
I just don’t wanna kiss ‘em, no
And it’s Christmas all over again, yeah, again
The version below is from a TV special in 2000, and the mischievous humor of Petty is on display from the jump. Also, Petty and Mike Campbell are both playing their distinctive Rickenbacker guitars — showing off presents from an earlier Christmas, perhaps??