Friday, December 17, 2004

Holiday Hell, Part 1: Worst Xmas Songs

Christmas hasn't been the same since my stint as a worker in a pastry shop for one holiday season. Being subjected to 8.5 hours of non-stop "holiday cheer" for a month, courtesy of one of the crummiest radio stations on the planet (Detroit's 100.3 FM) changed my life, and NOT in a good way.

Here are ten of my least favourite holiday songs, in no especial order:

1) "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"-- Cher & Rosie O'Donnell:

I know, I know, easy targets, but the radio station I like is playing this one repeatedly, and it really is a horrid song with no justification for existing. It generates zero emotion, and the duetting stars don't appear to feel any themselves. Rosie sings better than Cher does, though. (Note: Rosie's duet with Donny Osmond on "Winter Wonderland" isn't half bad until they start to ham it up at the end. Really.)

2) "Santa Baby"-- Various Artists:

A slinky, sexy Santa song. Yeesh. I don't like this one musically, I don't like it lyrically, and I don't like any of the versions I've heard of it, ever.

3) "Do They Know It's Christmas?"-- Band-Aid:

One of the sloppiest things Bob Geldof has been involved with. I don't care if it was for a good cause, as the whole premise of the song is appallingly soppy. Hint: non-Christian kiddies in Third World countries wouldn't care about Christmas even if they weren't ill, starving, and/or living in a war zone. "Feed the World," fine, but sticking Christmas into it is just loopy. Look Bob, I'm sorry the kiddies have nothing to eat, but I couldn't care less if they know about Christmas or not, so can I skip buying the record and just give you some money? (Note: I have not heard the Nov. 2004 re-recording of this and never want to.)

4) "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas":

Pure evil. Everyone involved with this song needs to burn, but especially the singer. I don't know if that was a woman pretending to be a little boy, a man pretending to be a little girl, or what, but it was HORRIBLE. They played this every day in the pastry shop.

5) "Little Saint Nick"-- the Beach Boys:

Laaaaame. This defines a certain category of Bad Xmas Song-- it's all about the Beach Boys going through the motions and has zilch to contribute to the spirit of the holiday. Mike Love's contributions to this one really grate, but I suppose that goes without saying.

6) "Little Drummer Boy"-- Various Artists, including David Bowie with Bing Crosby:

I don't hate the song so much as the many bad versions of it that litter the radio. It's not a complex or compelling tune, and it's a repetitive song, and a bad version of it is just interminable. The Bowie/Crosby cover isn't half bad because it jettisons most of the tune and goes into space with Bowie's "Peace on earth..." section.

7) "Sleigh Ride"-- Amy Grant:

A soulless cover of song that can be lovely and cheerful when done by the right performer. Most radio-friendly versions of this song are terribly, and Miss Grant's has nothing to recommend it.

8) "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time"-- Paul McCartney:

Paul McC gives the lie to his aura of melodic genius in this hopelessly plodding, brain-dead, and shameless excuse for a holiday tune. The lyrics are terrible, but that chorus of "Sim-PLY HAV-ing a WON-der-ful Christmas time!" should have gotten the man more jail time than all of his pot offenses combined (ie, at least nine days). "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" has its problems, but it kicks this song to the curb and then piddles on it.

9) "Mary, Did You Know?"-- Various, including Kenny Rogers:

A song about (and addressed to) the Blessed Virgin that denies the Immaculate Conception. They actually performed this at Immaculate Conception Church's (Hamtramck, MI) holiday concert this year! The song is pure glurge anyway, but that IC staged it boggles the mind-- I guess they didn't actually read the lyrics before assigning it to the kids. Doctrinal quibbles aside, did I mention it's glurge? Yech.

10) "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"-- Bruce Springsteen:

A bad idea made much worse by the fact that radio stations still play this lame mongrel of a tune. I've heard that even Springsteen is embarrassed by this one, and I hope that's true because he certainly should be. Unmelodic and joyless.

There are many, many more, but these ten are either burned into my soul (#4 and #8) and will always be present on any Bad-Xmas list of mine, or are annoying me very much at the present (#2 and #7).