There is no doubt in my mind that Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is the worst Christmas song ever written. According to Wikipedia, it was hastily written, and several lyrics were changed just prior to the recording session. The lyrics reek of the arrogance that comes from privilege. There also seems to be a misunderstanding of the actual conditions in Africa. In addition, several words and phrases were just poorly chosen.
For one thing, the song assumes that Africans won’t realize it’s Christmas because there is no snow and it’s hot. Let’s set aside the fact that only about 60% of Ethiopia would want celebrate Christmas at all.
So naturally, we need to do something about this. Can’t have folks not celebrating Christmas, can we?
And in our world of plentyWe can spread a smile of joyThrow your arms around the worldAt Christmas time
Feed the worldLet them know it’s Christmas time again
So the goal is to show Africa that Christmas time is the time of year that rich people will give them food. That’s how they know it’s Christmas. Then there’s gems like this:
Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you
To me, this is typical thinking for someone who’s never wanted for anything. Don’t ask God to help, or be angry at God for the drought that was plaguing Ethiopia. Thank God for the bullet you dodged. Yeah, close call there.
Here’s to youRaise a glass for everyoneHere’s to themUnderneath that burning sun
Yeah, we donated money and sang a song. We’re the best! Huzzahs all around! But let’s not forget those scrappy Ethiopians. We couldn’t have done this without them! Boy, how do they do it, day in and day out? It’s so hot there!
The rest of the song is kind of a mishmash of sentiments, and I’m never quite sure if the song is addressing me, or the singers, or the African people. It’s too bad that a song written for such a good cause (and thankfully was very successful) just sucks so much.