Recently a friend posted on Facebook that Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne” had infected her as an earworm she could not banish. Several commenters added how much they hate this song.
I’ve heard this before from people who have absolute contempt for this oft-played standard. It just goes to show how tastes in music differ so radically from person to person. This is one of the pop Christmas songs I do like. In fact, I really love it.
I know partly it’s due to association: “Same Old Lang Syne” hit the airwaves in 1980; I was having one of my best, most social holiday seasons in years. I was heavily involved in an Appalachian clogging group, and we became close, sharing many outings to hear bluegrass and dance. Christmas itself was good that year, too, especially in contrast with the previous year when the season had been absolutely dreadful.
Another reason I was attracted to the song, I’m sure, is because it’s so bittersweet. My Celtic blood responds naturally to sadness and longing and mourning of loss, love or otherwise. I always stung for the singer when he said, “Just for a moment I was back in school,” still able to hurt about the past despite the current successes in his life. I’m always able to look back and feel pain; the perverse part of it is the experience isn’t necessarily unpleasant. Sometimes it’s better to feel pain than to feel nothing at all.
Whether you like the song or not, here’s a writing nudge that uses “Same Old Lang Syne”:
The snow turned into rain. A good thing or a bad thing? What actually dissolves–magic? Disillusionment? Or a hampering attachment to the past? How did it change the holiday?
By the way, this song is even sadder for me since Dan Fogelberg passed away some time ago. RIP