Why I Hate the Music of Christmas
Now the Christmas Police aren’t looking, here is my top 10 crap Christmas Songs.
Originally published on Medium.com in The Venting Machine
I know I’m not alone with this, (and it does probably spring from working in Retail and Hospitality in my teens and early twenties), but Christmas music drives me insane. It has the unfortunate effect of rolling my soul up into a tiny ball of fizzing, sparkling irritation.
The temptation to permanently find a way to block my ears up is overwhelming. Existential dread sets in well before the festive season starts as you know you will be trapped at work listening to it for 8 solid hours a day from the 1st December every year. For twenty odd years. By someone who has been wearing tinsel since October and tells you that you’re a spoilsport and a Scrooge.
Some Christmas songs are the zenith of recorded desperation with the added festive flavor of sleigh-bells that people play despite the incredibly depressing lyrical content. Alternatively there are some songs that are so ubiquitous and smug that one’s hackles instantly rise within the first couple of bars. Music so smooth that it has no discerning features, but leaves a distinctly oily finish on the pallet. Here is my list of 10-ish of the worst examples.
Dolly Parton — Hard Candy Christmas
I generally love Dolly. She is a beacon of joy, kindness and breath-taking talent and is definitely a global treasure. However, this is a song sung by someone who is desperately trying to see the positive side of life and failing. She hopes she will be okay eventually, but she’s far too bloody depressed to do that at the moment. Not so much a glimmer of hope. More an almost invisible shard of hope that’s at the end of the tunnel, or is it an oncoming train?
I find jaded Christmas Dolly rather upsetting.
Cliff Richard — Savior’s Day/Mistletoe And Wine
Definitely on the oily side of the equation, for those unfamiliar with Cliff and his oeuvre, he is a silken voiced British institution who started as an Elvis alternative in 1958. Now, I’m not criticizing Cliff the man, he’s done some great stuff for charity and has a fantastic voice. The problems I have with these two songs is this:
They are bloody everywhere 20+ years since they came out.
Every Christmas cliché going gets checked off the list. Rosy cheeked children singing carols, log fires and trees with gifts underneath them, peace, love just shoved into the mix. All laudable, but when you've heard it at least twice a day for 30 days a year since 1988, it loses its already dubious charm.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Cliff wears "Jesus is my home boy" jammies.
Musically they are in a major key (in other words, it's relentlessly jolly and rousing), and lyrically there is not a single note, tone or phrase that isn't pure syrup. For some people (like me) that is literally worse than nails down a chalkboard. Or a UTI.
Barf - From YouTube
Much earnest - From YouTube
Mud — Lonely this Christmas
Ah Mud, a band that looked like three Lumberjacks and a Jim Jones impersonator in fancy dress who’d broken into a music shop. A song that sounded like Elvis being strangled by Roy Orbison. Lyrical content so sickly and maudlin that it made one’s teeth ache.
Only a faint whiff of Serial Killer - From YouTube
Wham! — Last Christmas
What if one of the “features” of “someone’s” anxiety was the same two Wham! songs (“Last Christmas” and “Credit Card Baby”) on a constant mind-bending loop…regardless of the time of year.
I mean, that wouldn’t sour your opinion…at….all. Would it?! WOULD IT!?
Ah. the Lovely George and his trampy ex - From YouTube.
Greg Lake — I Believe in Father Christmas Taking a dark turn, I Believe in Father Christmas was written by Greg Lake with lyrics by Peter Sinfield, and what a howl of cynicism and the death of innocence it is. You can understand why people might get the wrong end of the stick as all the clichés of the season are there. Even the lyricist describes it as:
“A picture post-card Christmas with morbid edges.”
Much Drama - From YouTube
Mariah Carey — All I want for Christmas is You
I couldn’t stand it when it came out, I still can’t stand it, it is literally everywhere, on TV, YouTube parodies by Annoying Orange, the lot.
And my sister has had her ribs broken twice by drunken dip shits who think that picking someone up by their ribcage and swinging them around like a ragdoll is cute. How we laughed (very carefully) on the way to Accident and Emergency.
Mariah looking twinkly - From YouTube
Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody
Noddy Holder, please stop shouting. Also we know it’s Christmas, thanks.
Noddy roaring at people - from YouTube
Band Aid – Do they know it’s Christmas?
A noble idea, with Bono honking all over it, with a side order of patronizing stereotypes about Africans and being saved by the great white heroes. Lots of 80’s icons looking like they’ve been dragged through a hedge, and trying to harmonize. Nope. Just Nope.
“Let them know it’s Christmas Time”.
Food and medicine might be more effective than shouting “It’s Christmas!” at hungry people. Just sayin'.
A smorgasbord of talents - From YouTube
Bing Crosby and David Bowie — Little Drummer Boy
Quite apart from the last thing that a new mother needs is someone creeping up on them and giving them a drum solo, this is the weirdest pairing ever. I remember watching this on a TV rerun show and being stunned by the incongruity.
Odd pairing -from YouTube
Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone
Another weird British phenomenon, Shakin’ Stevens was a welsh jobbing musician who took 20 years to become an overnight success, then cheerfully polluted the airwaves of the country for the next 10+ years with 50’s inspired Rock ’n’ Roll Pop that had all of the Grannies throwing their knickers at him. His exuberant performing style, songs that harked back to simpler times, legendary double-denim outfits and smiley persona made him popular with those who liked their music fatuous and twee. Merry Christmas Everyone manages to combine excessive perkiness, a rhythm that any idiot could (and did) dance to, an invitation to sexual harassment dressed up as Christmas laughs and enough sleigh-bells to drive every husky and reindeer within a three mile radius completely mad.
Shaky shakin' his Christmas thang...*shudder* - from YouTube
At least it’s all over for another year! Almost!