Home Homepage Latest Stories Satire: The History and Dark Themes Behind ‘The Chipmunks Christmas Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)’

Satire: The History and Dark Themes Behind ‘The Chipmunks Christmas Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)’

by Nicholas Vidal

Disclaimer: This piece is purely satirical and should not be considered factual.

When it comes to Christmas, we can see that classic songs found on the top of the charts do not compare to “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late.” Over my years of participating in holiday traditions, I’ve noticed a trend of an overall sour opinion of this Alvin and the Chipmunks classic.

Here, I will talk about the history of the song and the themes most people seem to miss out on.

The Chipmunks released this holiday classic in 1958 by Ross Bagdasarian, the creator of the Chipmunks. He achieved the chipmunk voices by speeding up the tapes his songs were recorded on.

Upon release, the song was met with massive success. Becoming the first Christmas song on the Billboard top 100, this feat would only ever be achieved again by Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

As time went on, Alvin and the Chipmunks would get into the Billboard top 100 several more times between 1958 and 1962.

After the release of the 2007 film, “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” the song would re-enter the top 100 for the last time topping at number 70.

As the people who once loved the Chipmunks grew up and the movies stopped, it seems people have forgotten about the bizarre trio band. It seems most of the chipmunks’ accolades have been forgotten as well. When asking students on campus, most said they never knew the achievements of this song.

Without a doubt, most people today have written Alvin, Theodore and Simon as annoying and cheesy. But if you take a magnifying glass and analyze their Christmas classic you can see that they are talking about much more than just Christmas.

Nicky Vidal | The Montclarion

Nicky Vidal | The Montclarion

“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” is on the surface a story about three chipmunks hoping that they will receive gifts on Christmas day as soon as possible. Beneath the surface of this simple song is a story about corporate greed and exploitation.

The song begins with Dave Seville, their adopted father and manager, calling the chipmunks to see if they’re ready to sing their song. Each chipmunk replies quickly except Alvin, through this simple exchange we can see that the chipmunks are overworked and have been singing this song for too long. Alvin is commonly perceived as the chipmunk with attitude, he stands out and rebels so it’s only fitting that he would be against the working conditions Dave is pushing.

After a reluctant “okay” from Alvin, the song begins with a chant to the capitalistic themes of modern Christmas. “Time for toys and time for cheer.” A simple line echoes the disgusting shift from a holiday about joy to one about consumerism.

But suddenly the chipmunks say something quite odd “We’ve been good, but we can’t last, hurry Christmas, hurry fast.”

Most people won’t think twice about this on their first listen, but if you look a little closer, the horror emerges.

This line shows how the chipmunks look toward Christmas as an escape from their exploitative boss Dave. They need Christmas to come fast because they don’t know if they can take these working conditions anymore.

The lyric that follows though is by far the most telling in the song, ”Want a plane that loops the loop, me, I want a hula hoop.” It may seem small, but Alvin’s deviation from what he wishes for just proves this all even more.

Alvin is speaking up against the power pushing down upon him in a rebellious act to free himself and his brothers.

Finally, to end the chorus, the brothers chant, “We can hardly stand the wait, please Christmas, don’t be late.” This final chant really rings quite similarly to a quote from George Orwell’s “1984,” “We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future.”

This Christmas classic would go on to be loved by audiences but as for the Chipmunks, this would begin their spiral into a life most rock stars find themselves in.

Just a few years, later the Chipmunks would start experimenting with drugs when record label president Ian Hawke suggested it after another failed studio recording session.

This would lead the chipmunks down a dangerous road eventually bleeding into their 1980 album Chipmunk Punk. Fans would nickname this album Sludgefest because of its distorted vocals due to the Chipmunk’s heavy drug use. Hopefully, no chipmunk ever has to go through what Alvin, Simon and Theodore had to go through.

If the three of them could say something from beyond the grave they’d probably say merry Christmas and have a happy holiday.

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