WARNING: Do not read this story unless you're prepared to deal with an earworm this entire holiday season.
With Christmas songs returning to set lists and local airwaves — iHeartRadio station 94.5 3WS, which has been playing holiday music 24/7, even brands itself every year as "Pittsburgh's #1 Christmas Music Station" — there's bound for some to get stuck in your head. An NPR story a few years ago even looked into the phenomenon in its piece How That Holiday Song Becomes an Inescapable Earworm. For lots of folks, it's Wham's "Last Christmas." Or Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You." And the inevitable repeated airings, and heated discussions, over "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
Here in Pittsburgh, though, there's a new holiday song that's an instant earworm, whether you like it or not. Take my warning seriously for I too am a victim.
Last weekend, during WPXI's televised holiday parade, anchor David Johnson introduced "talented musicians who recently put out a song that captured not only the Christmas spirit, but everything we know and love about Pittsburgh."
Enter the pop-punk stylings of Chip & The Charge Ups, a local four-piece featuring father-and-daughter-team Chip and Meleena Dominick on vocals, Jeff DiPerna on drums, and DJ Carothers on guitar. The band's "Black and Gold Christmas" has been stuck in my head for a week straight, with no signs of slowing down.
It is the ultimate cheesy love song to the city, pandering to folks who buy up "yinzer" merchandise for themselves when shopping for holiday gifts for other people. Sample lyrics include, "Mom got all the pierogies made, put a chair in my parking spot." Guest vocalist Liz Berlin, of Rusted Root, sings, "This is what Mister Rogers called a beautiful day in the neighborhood," and gospel singer Char Fields chimes in with, "All I want for Christmas is to spend it with all of yinz."
The band's video also panders to yinzers. A LOT. There's a shot of Chip taking a selfie in front of the sinkhole bus, for one. Scenes inside Primanti Bros. And lots and lots and lots of black and gold.
Watch the video below yourself, and if you catch yourself singing it again in an hour, don't say I didn't warn you.
If you're really into the song, you can also purchase a "Black and Gold Christmas" shirt on the band's online store. All profits are being donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.