Continuing with the “Bah Humbug” spirit I seem to be in this week (I swear I’ll snap out of it eventually, maybe), I would like to share with you the holiday songs that make me want to puncture my eardrums with snowman-topped swizzle sticks. Maybe some of these songs you hate too. Or maybe you like some of them. That’s all right, everyone has diverse musical tastes. Just because I despise a song that you like doesn’t mean that you are wrong, it simply means that you are an idiot.
Jingle Bells by Barbra Streisand. The musical equivalent of someone who swallowed a set of novelty chattering teeth who is trying to dry heave them back up. Take your Ritalin, man.
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey. I don't want a lot for Christmas, just for the chance to go back in time and call in a bomb threat to the studio the day this song was recorded to prevent this abomination from being played in an endless loop on every department store PA, radio station, and television commercial from the day after Halloween through the end of the year.
The Little Drummer Boy by everyone. I'm no Biblical scholar, but I'm pretty sure none of the Gospels mentioned a drummer boy being present on the eve of Christ's birth. Annoying tune. Stupid lyrics. "Mary nodded," um, yeah, right, a woman who just traveled three days from Nazareth ON AN ASS, gave birth in a stable, and she's agreed to let you play your drum near her newborn infant. More likely that she'd tell the little drummer boy to take his fucking drum and stuff it. Of course not in those exact words, because she's the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and all, but she wouldn't be all, "Yeah, kid, come bang out a tune like you're Keith Moon, we're not getting any sleep anyway what with the shepherds and heavenly hosts and kings and shit. Just add to the clamor, it's all good."
The Christmas Shoes or any other tragic, depressing, make-you-want-to-hang-yourself-from-the-top-of-the-tree song. If this woman is really about to meet Jesus, what good are new shoes going to do her? Note to my sons, if I'm lying at home dying on Christmas Eve, shoes are probably the last thing on my list. Really all I need is for you guys to not be fighting. That's my dying Christmas wish. Act like you're not a bunch of wild animals, and let me die in peace. Skip the shoes. If anything, pick up some Chipotle. Also it's probably better you're with me saying goodbye than out fighting traffic looking for shoes if I'm on my deathbed and all.
Do They Know It's Christmas? by the 80's British super poverty-fighting group Band Aid. A noble cause, and not a song that makes me reach for the radio tuner like I'm going after a loose ball on a basketball court, but this makes the list for one reason: the lyric, "And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time." We're talking about starving children in sub-Saharan Africa. When has there EVER been snow in Ethiopia?
Silent Night by Neil Diamond. To those of us with a strong German heritage, this is the mother of all carols. Legend goes that the song, Stille Nacht, written by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr, was to be debuted on a snowy Christmas Eve in Austria, but the church organ didn't work, so it was arranged for guitar. And then Neil Diamond brought his own unique brand of gravel-voiced, off-key, sing-talking to it, causing Gruber and Mohr to roll over in their graves. Diamond is Jewish, though, maybe it was payback for centuries of Germanic anti-Semitism. Well played.
Winter Wonderland by Eurythmics. There's a chance this might have been bearable the first time it was played, but once you've been Christmas shopping and hear it in four consecutive stores, you start to wish you had a bit of whatever hallucinogenic delight caused this song to morph into something with a time signature that sounds like Annie Lennox is walking slow motion through a field of melted marshmallows wearing moon boots.
Last Christmas by Wham! When was Wham! last relevant? 1985? So why is their Christmas monstrosity still a staple in venues who subject their customers to the standard seasonal repertoire? It would be easier to break an inmate out of a federal supermax prison than getting this song out of your head once it's lodged in there.
Amy Grant. Her entire catalog. Make it stop.
Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes. Dinga-linga-linga ding dong POW. I've never shot a firearm in my life, but this makes me long to train the sight of a high-powered rifle directly at whatever speaker is blasting this insipid nonsense. Actually it's a toss-up between this and their version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
So here you have it. What I’m hating at the moment. Props though to Pier 1 Imports. They were playing a fabulous set the other day, replete with Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and a fun tune called We Wanna See Santa Do the Mambo that made you want to grab a lamp and start dancing.
The good stuff is out there, the question is, what evil forces are at play to instead shovel the same overplayed garbage at us year after year? Did Mannheim Steamroller and José Feliciano make some sort of pact with the devil to get their 15 minutes of fame back once a year? I smell conspiracy. And cinnamon pine cones.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011