Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Top 5 Least Favorite Christmas Songs

I really like Christmas music. Christmas is the one holiday to have its own genre of music, and most of the songs are beloved classics that have been dusted off and enjoyed every December for generations. Old Christian hymns, pop songs about reindeer, snowmen and an old fat guy from the North Pole, and old vocal standards about warmth and good cheer. Some are religious, some are commercial, some just talk about the weather, but there's something in it for everybody. Not to mention that just about every recording artist you can name has put out a Christmas album at some point, or at least done a song or two.

In this first of 2 posts, I'll present my favorites, and the ones that make me want to go hide in a dark hole with Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch and chow down on gruel and that last can of Who Hash.

Let's go with the bad news first. I'll do only 5 for this segment, but don't worry, I'm making them count. This is one rancid plate of roast beast!

5. Silver Bells (Jay Livingston and Ray Evans)
Christmas is a time for giving. It is, above all, a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But you won’t find anything about those two subjects in this painfully commercial, schmaltzy, lay-the-sap-on thick little ditty from 1950. No, it’s about shopping in the city. Its most popular version (though it’s been performed by many) is by Bing Crosby…and not even Mr. White Christmas himself made it sound good. A lot of people like it, but count me as one of those people who doesn’t like its message.

4. The Chipmunk Song (Ross Bagdasarian)
One of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. It’s a classic, it’s creative, it’s cute and it’s well written. But that doesn’t numb the pain of hearing it over and over again back-to-back. Alvin and the Chipmunks are one of those things best enjoyed in small doses, and for some reason, this song is never used in moderation come Christmas time. This makes my list not because it’s annoying in and of itself, it’s annoying because it’s overexposed. Every Christmas, the family of the late “Dave Seville” (Ross Bagdasarian) listens to their pockets play “Jingle Bells”, and what do we get in return? Bad CGI blockbuster movies with poop jokes.

3. Christmas Shoes (NewSong)
This is a fairly recent addition to the Christmas music repertoire. A Christian musical group got a chain email back in 1996 telling the story of a poor kid who showed up at a store on Christmas Eve to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother. It’s a nice premise, but it’s SO sappy it hurts! Not to mention sad. When I hear Christmas music, I want to celebrate happy things like Jesus and Santa Claus, not poverty and death. I’m not a Scrooge, I understand that Christmas is a time to recognize and give to the less fortunate. But in doing so, we’re supposed to make them happy and feel good about doing it, not listen to tear-jerking songs about it!

2.Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (Johnny Marks)
Oh man, make it STOP! “Hey, it’s 1958, those kids are listening to rock and roll records. We should do a Christmas song about it to show we’re not squares!” 4-foot-9 country vocalist Brenda “Dynamite” Lee performed the original, and in fact it really is more country than it is rock. I really can’t put my finger on WHY I don’t like this song, it’s just that whenever I hear it, a big neon sign flashes in my brain that says “This SUCKS.” It genuinely irritates me.

1. Jingle Bell Rock (Beale/Boothe)
Much like the #2 entry, this was a late 1950’s attempt to make a Christmas tune that was (at the time) hip and modern. "Jingle Bell Rock" was written by Joe Beal, a public relations man from Massachusetts, and Jim Boothe , a Texas advertising writer. That should be adequate warning that we’re dealing with one commercialized, purely empty piece of horse shit. It was originally performed by Bobby Helms. That version is really country (not rock), complete with steel guitar. It’s also the only version I’ve heard that features the sound of jingle bells in it at all. Lyrically, it’s the dumbest Christmas song ever. “Giddy up, Jingle Horse, pick up your feet!” What the hell is a “jingle horse”? I’m not a horse expert, but I know the’ve got your quarterhorse, your arabian, your saddlebred. I’m from Texas, and we’ve probably got every kind of horse there is, but danged if I ain’t NEVER seen no “jingle horse” around these parts. To add insult to injury, there are countless versions of the song out there performed by countless artists, and not one of them has managed to make it palatable. I hate it, I hate it, and just for fun, I hate it some more.


  1. At least you're not hating on Last Christmas or So This is Christmas

  2. "Last Christmas" might've made a top 10 if I wanted to do 10. "So This Is Christmas" doesn't really bother me.