Look out, Dad’s about to go a little Scrooge here. I have a holiday season complaint. No, I’m not going to moan about Starbucks cups. No, it’s not about saying Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas. People were drinking coffee from agnostic cups and saying “Happy Holidays” long before these were weapons in the War on Christmas. I’m not going to rant about the holiday decorations that went up in October. I have bigger things to complain about. Namely…
Two of the six presets on our radio switched to Christmas music on November 1. This means that one-sixth of the year is nothing but Christmas music. This means “Santa Baby” will play for more than 2,000 minutes – on a single radio station before New Year’s.
I’m a bit of a music snob who listens to WMNF and insists on talking about bands you’ve never heard of. But I like Christmas music – at Christmas. My kids like other stations and my wife likes the hits of the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, “and more”. Right now, “more” means more Jingle Bell Rock.
Good Christmas songs exist. I’m a sucker for Michael Bublé crooning a Yule tune. Bing Crosby and David Bowie on “Little Drummer Boy” is a cringy classic! Heck, I even like Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” (all 19 words, written in 10 minutes and recorded in a single take). But this cheery playlist also has some major clunkers. I give you, the definitive list of worst Christmas songs:
5. Mariah Carey, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” It’s not her. It’s the frantic tempo. This song makes me feel like it’s 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve and none of the presents are wrapped.
4. Any song by Trans Siberian Orchestra This orchestra with cheesy electric guitars is music for people who don’t like music. I was shocked to learn that Trans Siberian Orchestra does not come from a remote Soviet village where a KGB experiment created a society of virtuosos. TSO originated in Tampa (of course) and through the magic of capitalism, these Siberians are capable of playing in Denver, CO and Hershey, PA on the same day.
3. Any song by Pentatonix I still remember exactly where I was standing when a grown man introduced me to this a cappella group from hell. I thought, “You’re a psychopath and we will not be friends.” I was right on both counts.
2. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer This song has aged like Jeff Foxworthy jokes and the Billy Bass wall-mounted singing fish.
1. Paul McCartney, “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” Hey Jude, this song is bad. There’s a scene in the new Beatles Documentary when Yoko is screaming into a microphone. It’s because Paul was writing this song.
It doesn’t have to be like this. In the ‘80s, radio played one Christmas song, Band-Aid’s famine anthem, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and every (white) pop star sang on it. They admonished other (presumably white) people to feed “them.” Well, their heart was in the right place, even if the lyrics weren’t.
Alexa, play the Jackson 5 Christmas Album.