Saturday, December 6, 2014
Good Artists Making Terrible Christmas Music
This time of year brings with it the unbearable onset of awful holiday music blaring just about everywhere. While there might be different performers and versions of songs, it's always the same twenty or so songs I keep hearing, over and over and over again. Three years ago I made a list of Christmas music I actually like, and through the magic of Spotify have managed to find great country, R&B, and jazz takes on the form that can wash the taste of the crap out of my mouth. Of course, that's not what they're playing when I stop into the Walgreen's for diapers. What amazes me is that there are often great musical artists who become the worst hacks when it comes to Christmas music. Here's a randomly organized list of the worst offenders.
Beach Boys, "Little Saint Nick"
This may very well be the worst offender on the list. Unlike other Beach Boys music it sounds completely joyless, as if someone had them in the studio at gun point. The lyrics are beneath stupid, I think I lose brain cells every time I hear it. On top of it all, Mike Love's adenoidal yelp never sounded more grating.
Bruce Springsteen, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
I really think the Boss is capable is giving us a great Christmas song, and not of the traditional variety. I would love to hear an acoustic weeper on the lines of the Nebraska album about a laid off worker trying to not to let on to his children how he is selling plasma to buy them presents. Instead we get this lame take on an annoying Christmas chestnut, one that my friend (and Springsteen superfan) Debbie has called "Saint Bruce's one sin."
Paul McCartney, "Wonderful Christmastime"
Good Lord is this an annoying song. The synthesizers are so bloody awful that they are almost (and I mean almost) transcendent in their wretchedness. What really makes it rotten is that Macca knows how to write a catchy hook, so this song will get in my head for hours. I honestly wonder if it was originally written to be used by the CIA in its torture chambers but rejected for humanitarian reasons.
Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas"
"Do They Know It's Christmas" has got to be the most patronizing, ignorant Christmas tune ever written. Do they know it's Christmas in Ethiopia? Well considering that Christians were there well before they were ever in England, yes. A lot of artists I like had a hand in this mess.
Chuck Berry, "Run Run Rudolph"
Berry is really phoning it in on this one. He goes through the motion without even a hint of passion, which makes me think this song wasn't his idea. I would hope not.