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Taking Apart "Christmas Tree Shop"

This article is the first in a series on my new collection of songs, "Life Is Worth Living."


When Tinder is of no interest, where's an old soul to turn? To that iconic chain of stores that began on Cape Cod: the Christmas Tree Shop!


One critic has astutely compared my latest song to They Might Be Giants and Vampire Weekend, but it also takes a strong influence from the crooners. I was looking especially to Beauty School Dropout as well as a song called Smashed from the Nickelodeon show "Hey Arnold!"


Listen Christmas Tree Shop here:

Let's it apart. In the opening lines, you'll hear inspiration from the crooners:


When he wants to settle down

Where's a guy to go?

I was wandering aimlessly

Just cruising to and fro


The third line in the following stanza is purposely awkward. I'm a big fan of intentionally awkward emphasis; Weezer does it all the time. It gives a sort of gives off an innocent quality. Plus it puts the listener on a roller coaster ride — they're thinking "There's no way this is going to end well. No way all these syllables will fit." But when they do, it's satisfying.


And then I met this girl at the Christmas Tree Shop

And I liked her a lot

I don't know if I will ever see her again

Is she the one or just a friend?


"Don't you just love a bargain" was the Christmas Tree Shops' slogan for a while. It was also the basis of their catchy jingle.


Don't you just love a bargain?

And getting your heart in a throbbin' mess?


When I came up with the "overthinking" line, I needed to follow it with a rhyme. I thought "winking" sounded too forced. But I have a theory that if you put the forced line first and the more natural line second, it will sound like you planned it all along. Did it work here?


Did you just see her winking?

I'm overthinking


I gave up any attempts to conceal forced rhymes here:


I must confess that

My heart hopped at the Christmas Tree Shop

Never thought it would stop.

Bought a mop at the Christmas Tree Shop


Now, another example of awkward emphasis:


Just so that I could drop in

To see her where she told me that she would be

Where she told me that she would be


I include a sound clip of a cheering crowd as we head into the final chorus. Why not make it a little more exciting?


Met this girl at the Christmas Tree Shop

And I liked her a lot

I think that she could be

The one to build my life around

But hey, I don't know if I will ever see her again

Is she the one or just a friend?


And there you have it, a song! One critic says it's not as good as Soup Girl. What do you think? Let me know on Twitter.


Listen to all the songs in the Life Is Worth Living series (so far) here.


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© 2020 by Andrew Butler