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It’s back: Arts Desk’s annual frank assessment of new holiday music
Oy Vey: Kosher food (and wine) producer Manischewitz got massively into the Thanksgivukkah spirit by sponsoring a contest for the best song for this “holiday,” which occurs about as often as people whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower go to shul. Thanks to the combination of the Jewish lunar calendar and a later-than-usual Thanksgiving, turkey and the first day of Hanukkah arrive together for the first time in 125 years. This song is part of a $3 million marketing campaign Manischewitz is running, which also includes special e-cards, Instagram promos, and this Web site, which is presumably one of the only places on the Internet devoted to singing the praises of Tam Tam crackers.
Musical Mishegas: The people who made this self-proclaimed “rap battle parody” between a dreidel and a turkey won $1,000. The people who listened to it just won some tsuris. The song starts out promisingly enough, with synthy chords from “Oh Hanukkah,” but it devolves pretty quickly into mediocre raps that only underscore why there aren’t many hip-hop songs about pumpkin pie or Maccabees. The video is only 1:26 long, but somehow it feels like it drags on for eight days.
A Shaynem Dank Dir im Pupik: Midway through, the song switches gears entirely—united by the concept of Thanksgivukah, the turkey and the dreidel stop trading Yiddish-laden insults and sing a sort of country-influenced ditty. Which makes it feel like what Flight of the Conchords might sound like, if Brett and Jermaine were named Baruch and Yossi. Also, note that Manischewitz spells Thanksgivukkah as “Thanksgivukah,” with only one K, proving that the old joke about two Jews getting stranded on a desert island and founding three synagogues also holds true for transliterations.
Cheer Factor: On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 2. I enjoy both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah as much as the next American Jew, but I needed this song like a loch in kop. For your own Thanksgivukkah merriment, maybe try “Oils,” a parody set to the tune of “Royals,” by Lorde, which at least has the advantage of riffing on a catchy tune (and also features Hasids and Pilgrims dancing together).
Illustration by Carey Jordan