Venus and the Moon Scale Down John and Yoko

“Happy Xmas (War is Over)” has traditionally been one of the few holiday songs that gets love from people who otherwise have no use for Christmas songs. John Lennon’s name and voice help, as does Phil Spector’s wall-of-voices production, but its parenthetical assertion and lack of Christian piety—“Xmas” not “Christmas”—separate it from the songs written by the previous generation’s finest songwriters. It’s not sentimental, and it’s not hearkening back to some fondly remembered yesteryear.