L'shanah tovah tikatevu—It sounds like Chanukah already!
I participate in an online forum called The WELL. Every year about this time, someone opens a topic in one of the general discussion areas about early sightings (and hearing) of music and decorations relating to the brand X holiday that occurs around the winter solstice. I have always felt smugly secure, because I have never walked into a store in August, or even September (when most of us have other things on our minds) and heard "I have a little Dreidl."
That is changing. Once upon a time, Chanukah was noted for simple kids' songs—the aforementioned one, "Dreidl, Dreidl, Dreidl," or for the more culturally aware, "Ocho Kandelikos." For adults, there was always a rockin' version of "Ma'oz Tzur." to enjoy. And then Adam Sandler changed the world.
The whole concept of Chanukah song changed! We no longer have to put up with tepid songs about dreidls, latkes and the Maccabees (remember them?) We have a whole new field of songs about "Chanukah-ness"! The concept was forcefully brought home by the delightful The Levees with their songs about "My Goyish Friends" and "Apple sauce or Sour Cream," or by songs off recent fund-raising anthologies about "Chanukah in Boston" and the like.
But where was I? Oh yes, the idea of hearing about Chanukah when I am smack in the middle of thinking about the High Holidays almost upon us, and this year's entry into "Chanukah-ness," a band called "Poppa's Kitchen". They mark the year's first entry in the "sounds like Chanukah" contest. They didn't wait until Thanksgiving. They didn't wait until Halloween. Nope, it's in my email box now. Do with it what you will.
The band has a website, as well, www.arockinhanukkah.com. Maybe these will be the folks to take us beyond Adam Sandler. With so many people talking about how there aren't any good songs about Chanukah, surely one of them will catch on. Or, maybe a holiday dedicated to the power of oil (from the lamp to the latkes) will have to limp by with a gambling franchise (ever tried to bet on spinning Christmas tree bulbs?), cholesterol-destroying food, and the pyromaniac in all of us.