Can Christmas come too early? When it comes to a 1994 pop song played annually around the holiday season, the answer is yes — according to a bar in Texas.
A sign on its jukebox last week said that the catchy tune “will be skipped” if played before then, and that after that date it can be played but only “one time a night.”
“It’s been put up three years now, maybe four, every holiday season we hear the song so much when you get alcohol involved,” Stoneleigh P’s general manager Laura Garrison told The Washington Post on Tuesday, adding that any song that gets played more than once per night gets skipped. Carey’s Christmas hit creeps in earlier each year, Garrison said, “and we throw up the sign — I think this year it was played in September.” The rule, she added, started as an inside joke among the bar’s longtime regulars. “It’s like a family inside joke that went viral.”
A picture of the sign, shared by a National Review reporter on Twitter, has sparked a social media debate, with the musician herself weighing in late Monday.
Carey posted an image of herself dressed for battle in armor, amid flames after someone on Twitter asked whether the jukebox sign signaled a war on Christmas.
Carey also later shared a video of herself clad in a sparkly red Christmas dress, using a giant candy-cane baseball bat to smash Halloween pumpkin lanterns, exclaiming: “It’s time.”
Her fans shared their delight with her response on social media, dubbing her “the queen of Christmas” and teasing that she had been “defrosting” since October in preparation for her upcoming ubiquity.
The chorus on social media, however, does not appear to have affected the mainstream popularity of the tune, which on Tuesday had already entered Apple Music’s Top 100 most-played songs in the United States. Last year, by Dec. 1 it was the second-most-listened-to song in the country, according to the music streaming service Spotify.
In 2017, the “modern yuletide classic” entered the Billboard Hot 100′s top 10 for the first time, more than 20 years after its release, becoming one of the few Christmas songs to do so. It has also been awarded a Guinness World Record for being the highest-charting holiday song on the Billboard US Hot 100 by a solo artist and continues to delight and vex listeners across the globe.
Hau Chu contributed to this report.