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mokin asked: When you covered "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" for the AV Club, you sang it with the modified Frank Sinatra lyrics. I was surprised because the line "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow" seems like a very Mountain Goats lyric. Is there a reason you prefer the Sinatra version, or is it just the one you're most familiar with?

This falls into the category of “questions where JD finds the answer interesting but is largely alone in that finding.” I could go on at very great length about it. The short version is I love “muddle through somehow” but not “until then we’ll have to.” You know how my lyrics generally sound pretty conversational, like I’m making it up as I go along? This is the product of having spent way too many hours (and yet still not enough by my own reckoning) thinking about which letters, syllables, phonemes, etc fit together best and trying to internalize my own ideas about that so that it emerges naturally the way I like it. There’s no comprehensive list or anything, it’s kind of a spiritual discipline. But Sinatra is right on in sensing that starting that line with a harder entry than “un-” is the correct move. The other reason is, I worship Judy Garland and can barely sing anything she sang without collapsing into a tearful heap on the floor, so even if I could pull off her “until then” (as an ascended master any rules of what sounds & syllables are best don’t really apply to her) I probably would not make it to the end of the line. 



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