My Top 5 Worst-Ever Christmas Songs
by Adam Kuban
Yesterday I gave unto thee my Top 5 Non-Traditional Christmas Songs. Today, I’m going in a different direction, because I’ve been driven absolutely mad by some of the following songs, which are on seemingly endless repeat in every bodega, deli, grocery store, and pizzeria I’ve been in lately. Yes, today I’m being a Scrooge, because it’s the last day I can do it — no hatin’ on Christmas Eve or Day…
5. ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over),’ John and Yoko, The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir
I know I’m going to take some flak for this, but I do not like this song. It pretty much falls into my definition of “hippie music,” and I do not like “hippie music,” all of which depresses me in a mild and indescribable way. Like most hippie music (almost anything played at Woodstock, if you need examples), it expresses sentiments that, in my heart, I completely agree with but that are so naive as to be eyeroll-inducing. I think it depresses me exactly because it delivers its message effectively — most “hippie music” (as I define it) presents either an ideal world or laments the world as it is, sometimes both at once. On top of that, “hippie music” is nakedly earnest. There’s no wink-wink back door of irony to slip out of. It’s the disconnect between reality and idealism that depresses me, because I feel like “hippie music” is always urging me to do something I feel powerless to do anything about. Why can’t it just let me be blissfully ignorant?!?
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” elicits this feeling in me — it’s also completely overplayed (see next two songs for that rant).
I also think that Lennon is just so damn smug in his delivery: “Oh, another year over, huh? And what have you done? … Play Angry Birds for hours on end?” I guess if I’m going to be preached to in a Christmas song, I’d prefer the old-fashioned carols, thankyouverymuch. (Note: Check back tomorrow for my Top 5 Traditional Christmas Song list.)
4. ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’ Brenda Lee
In a perfect world, I would love this song. It’s kooky, vintage, and just up my alley. In my more hipster days, I would have owned it on vinyl and played it on my portable turntable. But radio stations like 106.7 Lite FM* have absolutely hammered the shit out of this song, and I now cannot stand it. Seriously, it’s on at my neighborhood market almost every time I go in there — which is quite often, as I have to maintain my Foursquare mayor status there.
So, sorry Brenda Lee. In another world, I would have loved your song.
3. ‘Jingle Bell Rock,’ Bobby Helms
Same with this song. I’ve heard it so damn many times that it drives me crazy. When I hear that twangy guitar intro, I want to drop my groceries and run out the door or complete my purchase as fast as possible. As with Brenda Lee’s song, I would have loved this song in a world where 106.7 FM did not exist — and I probably loved it when I was younger. Just not anymore.
An aside: It’s funny to complain about Christmas music being overplayed. I realize that songs like Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” get as much play as Nos. 5 and 4 here, but something about those I can stand. Just not these two songs — I think because they are a little too hokey.
Also, may I rant? Thank you. … WHY DOES 106.7 PLAY ONLY THE SAME 20 CHRISTMAS SONGS?! Go crawl around FaLaLaLaLa.com and see how many great Christmas songs are out there. I’d love to hear The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping,” or The Kinks’ “Father Christmas” or Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” — just three fairy accessible songs that would break up some of the monotony on commercial Christmas radio.
2. ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,’
You know, this video actually makes me hate this song a little less. Dr. Elmo (left) and Randy Brooks really seem to be having fun here. (Note that Brooks is the song’s actual writer — it wasn’t written by Elmo & Patsy.) Still, I always picture a bunch of hicks from the sticks coming up with this song and then invading my life via the radio waves with it.
1. ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’
So fuggin’ repetitive. Boring-ass song. It’s the “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” of Christmas. Enough said.
* 106.7 Lite FM is the NYC radio station that plays Christmas music nonstop from around, oh, just after Thanksgiving until Christmas.