A Reading of Do They Know It’s Christmas, a Truly Awful Song

Tonight thank God that someone else is suffering, per Bono

Mike Toole
Dec 5, 2019 · 4 min read

It has been 35 years since Band Aid recorded and released “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, which is a terrible Christmas song that should have been tossed and lost in the used tape bin of a record store, but instead gets brought out front and center every year along with true Christmas classics, such as everything sung by Nat King Cole and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

(I understand that the song was for charity, which is great, but does not change the truly terrible music and lyrics, so please don’t bother yelling at me for those reasons. Also, it apparently was a very poorly run charity that didn’t help very much.)

Here are the lyrics, along with some thoughts by me, a person who is pretending to have never heard this song before.


It’s Christmastime,

Hell yeah, let’s do this!

there’s no need to be afraid

Ha, okay. I know that. Who’s afraid of Christmas?

At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade

We do what now? How do we banish shade? It gets dark at like 3:30 around here.

And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! Let’s spread some joy! No more of this banishing shade talk. This is a Christmas song! It should have fun stuff, like sleigh bells and snow and mistletoe!

But say a prayer,

Ah, shit.

pray for the other ones

OK, who? Who are we praying for? The other ones? Sounds a little dismissive, if you ask me.

At Christmastime it’s hard,

Haha, Yeah it is! High five! Just kidding. It’s just that you said “it’s hard”. Go ahead.

but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear

Oh yikes. This is still a Christmas song? “A World of Dread and Fear” sounds like a teen goth poem.

Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears

Christ. That’s a bit much, no?

And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

THE CLANGING CHIMES OF DOOM?! Did Vincent Price write this part?

Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

Whoa, what the fuck, man? That is rude as hell. I’m not going to be like, “Dear God, thank you for completely fucking over Africa instead of me.” How about we ask God why some people live in such terrible conditions? Why would He do this to them? Maybe write a new song called “Hey God, What The Shit?”

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life

Wouldn’t that be anyone’s greatest gift? If it’s between life and a Nintendo, I’m going life nine out of ten times.

Where nothing ever grows

I’m like 99.999999% sure that’s not true.

No rain nor rivers flow

You’re going to shit yourself when you hear about the Nile.

Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Yeah, I bet they have a calendar. People used to know what day it was based on like one star in the sky, so I’m sure they know it’s December.

Here’s to you

Me?

Raise a glass for everyone
Here’s to them
Underneath that burning sun

Wait, now we are toasting to them being burned by the sun? So, to recap, thank God it’s them instead of me and toast to them being scorched by an unforgiving Sun god?

Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Most likely, yes. We covered this. Also, you said there were Christmas bells ringing. Remember? The clanging chimes of doom? So if that’s their usual Christmas bell ritual, then yeah, they know. “Oh dang, there go the Doom Chimes. Merry Christmas, everyone.”

Feed the world
Feed the world
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again

I agree that no one should go hungry, but not just at Christmastime. We should care year-round. Let’s wrap this up.

Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again

OK, got it.

Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again

I said I got it, Sting.

Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again

Gaaahhh. Zip it, Bono.

Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again

Ooof. I’m glad this song is finally over. Now I’m going to go and listen to something a little more upbeat, like the one where the kid sees his mom hooking up with Santa and, oh, here’s one about Christmas shoes. I bet that’ll be a crowd pleaser. I’ll listen to that one. Oh god. Oh no. Oh no no no no no.

Here are some charities doing great work in Ethiopia.

You can follow me on Twitter.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade