Ariana Grande's "Santa Tell Me" Lyrics Are Very Confusing, Mildly Sexual, Highly Entertaining — LISTEN
Between all the mad dramz with Bette Midler, it was almost forgotten Ariana Grande released a pop Christmas carol called "Santa Tell Me." And I know in the midst of our chaotic world that song is a mere footnote, and a predictable one, at that. A Christmas song by a pop star? Plot twist! But honestly, it's worth a second listen, because if you look into it you'll realize it's a mind-boggling track in which Grande is making some rather egregious demands of a very theoretical Santa Claus.
Now, I'm willing to put aside the comical speculation that the guy Grande wants to bone is in fact, Santa. Which, to be fair, wouldn't be the first time somebody tried to seduce St. Nick. That's a tradition that dates back to traumatizing little ditties like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (making light of the crumbling marriage of your parents, whatever) and the siren song "Santa Baby," which all but promises Santa hand jobs for a yacht. But I don't think this song in particular follows suite. There is some other faceless love interest she wants under her tree and her way of asking for it is... confusing. And perhaps mildly inappropriate.
A quick sampling of the opening lyrics suggests this:
Santa tell me if you're really thereDon't make me fall in love againIf he won't be here next yearSanta tell me if he really cares'Cause I can give it all away if he won't be here next year
To begin, what particularly upsets me is that she continually questions the very existence of Santa Claus. Grande, in spite of her tiny frame, bouncy ponytail and doe-eyes, is actually a 21-year-old woman. Bless you're heart if you're not really sure whether or not Santa exists by the time you're 21. But then, if you're questioning the existence of Santa, why even ask him for favors? Why ask him for answers?
So in lieu of this, I'm not really sure who Grande is directly addressing. I mean, unless she's praying to a theoretical Santa. The other possibility is that when the video drops it's going to be literally her sitting on the lap of a mall Santa, asking for relationship advice. Which would be SO unpleasant. Those men get paid like $8 an hour, they don't have time to play therapist to your boy problems. I'm just saying, The Waitresses never pulled any of that crazy shit.
Then the stanza ends with "I can give it all away if he won't be here next year." Now, within the context of the song it seems that Grande is pursuing a longtime monogamous relationship. She keeps stressing on this "next year" part. He needs to make it to "next year," but anything after that is fair game. Why do I feel like Grande is the kind of girl who waits until after she gets her Valentine's Day diamonds to break up with a guy? The point is, the lyrical framing suggests she would let go of her crush if he isn't serious about her. But the phrasing of "give it all away," to me at least, has some veeery different implications.
See on my end, Christmas was always the time of the year when all my old boyfriends ("boyfriends") were in town. So my mentality was always more like, "Eh, he's going back to the military for two years, I might as well just sleep with him." Maybe Grande is far too classy to think that way, but let's not discount the Yuletide justification of sleeping with someone as a dark horse possibility.
Look, if you're not me (and I'm assuming you're not) and didn't overanalyze "Santa Tell Me," it still hits on all the right (or wrong) notes of a Christmas pop song. It's bouncy, it's cute, it'll be no doubt played six times while you're passively shopping at Victoria's Secret. But I do believe that whatever issues Grande is having right now, romantic, sexual or otherwise, The Idea of Santa is not the thing she should be focusing on. That dude has enough things on his plate.
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