Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Terrible Songs for the Xmas Season

I indulged in a slight rant recently about my disdain for Christmas music, especially when it is played BEFORE Thanksgiving, which, as any sensible person knows, is an unpardonable sin against humanity. Why are we so goddamn anxious to oust November from the calendar? Every year it seems that the gap between Halloween—that fantastic holiday of horror movie marathons and pop-up stores enticing women to embrace their inner slut—and Christmas is getting smaller.

“Well,” asked a bemused barista at Starbucks, “what have you got against Christmas music?”

A fair question to which I can only offer answers that will further perpetuate the idea that I am a “Scrooge,” a Christmas euphemism for “asshole.”

Rather than launch a diatribe against the holiday itself, I will reserve this space to discuss my five least favorite Christmas songs and my reasons for disliking them. I wish to state that there is no intent on the part of the author to convince you, humble reader, that there is anything wrong with Christmas or the music that accompanies it. Nonetheless, there are some pretty obnoxious tunes we are made to endure each year and they need to go the hell away.

“Little Saint Nick” – The Beach Boys

Easily the worst of them all. To start, I am not a huge Beach Boys fan. There is material I do respect (Pet Sounds), some of which I even enjoy, but this song is not even close to good. The lyric “Christmas comes each time this year,” delivered in that descending low register vocal by what seems to be a very bored Beach Boy, is the pinnacle of inane. If only Brian Wilson had composed a song for the IRS he could’ve written “taxes are due on April fifteenth” using the same melody. Why not—both lyrics do nothing more than provide information we already know. Lazy.

“Santa Baby” – pick one

Be it by Ertha Kitt, Madonna, Brittney Spears, The Pussycat Dolls, Natalie Merchant, Shakira, Macy Gray, Mae West, or Miss Piggy, the song is rotten to the core—nothing more than a celebration of crass materialism and a sad testament to how little the women’s movement has accomplished. Yes, ladies, keep singing this song about shaking your ass for diamonds. You're doing a great job telling women of all ages that they can’t get those sparkly things without cock teasing a fat, overworked man who only wants to bring smiles to the faces of good little children. Sad.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark

Again, frequently covered by the likes of Dean Martin and, recently, Will Farrell with Zoey Deschanel, this is a song about date rape. Merry Xmas!

“Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” – Paul McCartney

Suggesting that Ringo might not have been the weakest link in the Beatles chain, this up-tempo stab at creating a Christmas classic tells me that the best holiday songs have already been written, as has the best material McCartney will ever compose, which was his contributions to the white album, “Ohla Di Obla Da” notwithstanding. In fact, “Ohla Di Obla Da” can best be viewed as an indication of what Paul would end up writing: really, really shitty songs that strive to be joyous and end up sounding forced and empty. The culmination of those efforts is surely this saccharine Christmas abomination.

“Step Into Christmas” – Elton John

Another on the list of aging (read: increasingly irrelevant) rockers penning Xmas duds, we have this 1973 song. Actually, Elton John was still making interesting records in the 70s, so really he has no excuse. I suppose Elton never shied away from camp, so it should come as no surprise that he would record this unapologetically cloying ditty. Thankfully it doesn’t find a lot of air time these days, though my family loves Elton, meaning that, for me, there is no escape.