It’s been a banner year for women, in great part because of a system that drove its boot so deep into our necks that we all lost our epic sense of composure.
In record numbers, we marched. We ran for office. We called bullshit on sexual harassment (and are still calling bullshit). And those who raged against a machine of systemic abuse even made it to Time’s Person of the Year. (Here’s to that elbow.)
In keeping with the theme of all this bra-burning, and as we dovetail ever so gently into the holidays, Grey London worked with Goldstein Music to make a feminist album of revised Christmas hymns, designed for eggnog-drinking while also sticking it to the patriarchy.
You can buy the “Hyrrs” (versus hymns) album for a little over $7, with the added bonus that all proceeds go to women’s charity Refuge. (Because in addition to everything we mentioned above, one in four women in England and Wales are affected by domestic violence. Christ. It never ends, does it?)
In the meantime, below are the karaoke-ready tracks.
“Oh Sexism!” is sung to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree!” Memorable lines include “Oh sexism, oh sexism! Thy forms are so wide-ranging. Oh sexism, oh sexism! From catcalls to slut-shaming.”
“Once in Royal David’s City” is more laboriously transformed into “More Than Half of Working Women,” because more than half have been sexually harassed. “Such a scary ass statistic surely belongs in the past,” our choir sings.
It also includes a #metoo shout-out: “Since the fall of Pervy Weinstein, brave women have said ‘me too.’ Speaking out is never easy but it’s something we must do!”
“Good Queen Wenceslas,” whose origin hymn you can probably guess, takes on all that extra free work women are expected to take on, especially around the holidays: “It’s not always feminist to throw out the apron. But there’s choice and I choose this: Stove emancipation!”
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is recast as “We Want an Equal Salary.” Pretty self-explanatory. (From Nov. 10 until year’s end, women on average are now working for free.)
“In the Bleak Midwinter,” now a staple earworm because of Peaky Blinders, becomes “Female Sexual Pleasure.” Together, and angelically, let us trill: “Men who bang are heroes, women are called whores. Good-bye double standards, down with hypocrites; here’s to sexual freedom, lots of it.”
“Silent Night” transforms into the deliciously rhymey “Stereotypes.” Which one of these are you? “Stereotyes, stereotypes! Hollywood tends to write femme fatales and kooky girls, hot women hidden by spectacles, housewives and sassy black ladies, bimbos and high-school queen bees.” (Trust us: It reads poorly, but it sings perfectly.)
The catchiest by far is Grey’s rendition of “Deck the Halls,” now dubbed “Kick the Balls (of Patriarchy).” The catchy tune becomes an adrenaline anthem, with lines like “Old white men hog all the power; let’s bring down their phallic tower!”
“From Weinstein and Westminster to salaries and sexism, 2017 has shown how appalling it can be for women,” says Grey’s co-chief creative officer, Vicki Maguire. “That’s why we now want to make a statement about kicking everyday inequality in the baubles this Christmas, while raising money for an amazing cause that helps women.”
The creative minds that conceived the project, Christopher Keatinge and Tom Houser, collaborated with copywriters Augustine Cerf and Laura Nunneley. The typeface you see in the videos is called Lacuna, which was created by female typographer Imogen Ayres.
“Everyday sexism is sadly still a fact of life and remains a root cause of violence against women,” adds Refuge CEO Sandra Horley, CBE. “The Hyrrs of the world are often accused of lacking a sense of humor. So, this is a divine opportunity for the Hymns of the world to see the funny side. Otherwise, guess who has the last laugh?”
The songs are available for download on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. For office party hijinks, you can also stream them from Spotify and Apple Music. In addition to availing all these resources to you, the Hyrrs Not Hymns website includes a hyrrbook, making caroling a cinch!
Agency: Grey London
Chief Creative Officers: Caroline Pay, Vicki Maguire
Creatives: Tom Houser, Christopher Keatinge, Augustine Cerf, Laura Nunneley
Music produced by: Goldstein London
Sound recorded by: Munzie Thind @ Grand Central Recording Studios
Don't miss the Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience Nov. 16-19. Gain insights from leading sports figures on how they navigated a year of upsets and transformation and what's in store for the coming year. Register.