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‘Fairytale of New York’ remains a Christmas classic despite that one very problematic lyric

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least festive song of the season.Despite its cult status, The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” might just be the most anti-Christmas song out there.

From a New York City drunk tank, an Irish immigrant reminisces on his lost youth and bickers with his lover –– brought to life by the perfectly feisty voice of Kristy MacColl –– on Christmas Eve.In a genre defined by Mariah Carey-esque gloss and capitalist dreams, frontman Shane MacGowan’s disillusioned perspective appealed to a cynical subsection of the LGBTQ+ community.

Even with that controversial lyric. (You know, the one that rhymes with maggot.)It’s a complicated legacy and connection that makes MacGowan’s passing especially heart-rending.

The Irish singer-songwriter died Thursday, November 30 at 65-years-old after being diagnosed with encephalitis last year.MacGowan referred to “Fairytale of New York,” the UK’s most-played Christmas song of the 21st century, as the Celtic rock group’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Still, it never reached coveted chart-topper status on the UK’s Christmas Top 20.

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