The logo for The Sleigher.
Credit: Julia Terbrock

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HO HO WHO: Carly Rae Jepsen, Canadian Idol breakout and pop queen extraordinaire. She’s got English ancestry alongside her Danish heritage, but I can’t confirm if she’s a bona fide W.A.S.P. Regardless, that cohort might find a lot to relate to in her new song “It’s Not Christmas Till Somebody Cries,” where, in the end, everyone’s weeping!

CHRISTMAS CHAOS: From the beginning of the song, the Jepsen Christmas is suspect. Carly … how did “everyone” make it home for Christmas Eve this year? Why did you bring your vegan boyfriend to see your uncle, grandpa, et al. in a pandemic (and, unrelatedly, why weren’t you prepared for them to aggressively dose his food with animal products)? Why did you let your grandfather eat your edibles, and how could you pass it off as a “holiday high?” Is that a tradition we should all be claiming in future Decembers?

WAKING UP TOO EARLY IN MY CHILDHOOD BED: Jepsen’s dysfunctional tale of emotional warfare that makes her family “all break down in tears” might sound a little freaky to better-adjusted readers, but something about “I used to hide in my room / But now I like it” resonates with me. Me too, Carly, even though my yelling holiday is typically Thanksgiving, not Christmas. (What changed? Easy: I got old enough to start drinking with everyone else.) For some of us, good-natured tension is just a different way of saying I love you. And I’ll admit, I’ve also “had a few opinions / might have started a fight” at the dinner table before.

CHEER FACTOR: 9/10. Jangly synths, pulsing beats, and funny lyrics—this is a great song that captures the wonder (and the horror) of Christmas with your family. It’s a balm if you’re quarantining at home with your parents and a relief if you wisely skipped the gathering this year. If you’re a family therapist, well … your mileage may vary.