Music

The Most Cringe-Worthy Christmas Songs

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It starts with a few bars you’ve known since you still believed in Santa. Maybe it’s sleigh bells backing up electric guitar. You freeze. You feel it right in the sphincter, the holiday season has begun.

Sometimes it comes early. Sometimes you stay home to avoid it. But there is no escape, Christmas music is everywhere. If you work in retail or the service industry, that means spending most of your waking hours with it overhead until early next year.

Not all Christmas songs are equally terrible. These are the worst:

CHRISTMAS TREE– LADY GAGA (NSFW)

Like a weird combination of the cringe you feel listening to Disney radio, and the cringe of thinking about your parents having sex. The beat sounds like a Garageband demo sample. The lyrics are gross.

Light me up, put me on top,

let’s falalalala-lalalala…

Oh oh, Christmas,

my Christmas tree’s delicious.

We can’t be sure what the ’Christmas tree’ is a euphemism for–this could be a bit holiday gender-bending on Gaga’s part–but I think we can agree ‘my manora’ would be way more confusing.   

OH COME O COME EMMANUEL

Come on, it’s Christmas, and this is a song about ‘captive Israel’s lonely exile.’ It’s time this one was phased out along with other creepy Christian traditions like self-flagellation and live reenactments of the crucifixion.

We either need to start teaching early Judaic history in schools, or stop singing about it every Christmas, because nobody gets the references.

CHRISTMAS VACATION — MAVIS STAPLES

Miles Davis is said to have invented the word ‘cool.’ He was also a fan of the phrase ‘low rent.’ That’s what this song is, low rent.

Nothing could take away from the Chevy Chase classic for which the song was written. Christmas Vacation would top my listicle of the greatest holiday films. The opening cartoon sequence is great, with the volume muted.

The song doesn’t care and neither do we. It’s that lowest-bidder shit brought to you by the same Hollywood suits who wagered correctly that nobody with schooling beyond an associates degree would go see Meet the Spartans.

EVERY DAY WILL BE LIKE A HOLIDAY — WILLIAM BELL

This song has about as much holiday spirit as turkey entrails. Back when people bought albums, they called this sort of thing ‘filler.’ ’Holiday’ gets piped in damn near everywhere this time of year because it’s the perfect track number seven or eight on a Christmas mix. Average sells.

This is not  really a Christmas song, but it has the word ‘holiday’ in the title and ‘Christmas’ in the insufferable backing vocals, so people go with it. Just like they don’t let context get in the way of squeezing ‘Hallelujah’ into every soundtrack or using Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Freedom’ to sell cars. But William Bell is no Hendrix or Cohen, he’s not even a Manilow.     

CHRISTMAS SHOES — NEWSONG

‘Christmas Shoes’ has all the moral complexity of a Nicholas Sparks novel–that’s not a compliment by the way.

Spoiler alert:

It’s Christmas Eve and and the narrator is doing some last minute shopping. He sees a boy at the shop counting pennies to pay for a pair of shoes. The shoes are for his mother, and he’s in a rush because she happens to be dying of an unspecified illness. Just then the narrator steps in and pays for the shoes so Mama can look good for her date with Jesus, no really that’s how it goes:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please

It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size

Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time

You see she’s been sick for quite a while

And I know these shoes would make her smile

And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

CHRISTMAS SONG (DING DONG) — GÜNTHER AND THE SUNSHINE GIRLS (NSFW)

After the viral success of ’You Touch my Tralala’ and the envelope-pushing bisexaulity of ‘Tutti Frutti Summer Love’  Gunther retreated to a cabin north of the Arctic circle to enjoy a winterlong foursome with three Swedish lingerie models.

When gunther and The Sunshine Girls emerged from hibernation they gave us this song and a NSFW music video.

Santa, I’ve been so totally kind

I never had a dirty thing on my mind

Santa darling, oh, you’re so fine

I wish that you were only mine

DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? — BAND AID 1984

The real human rights violation of the 1983-85 famine and Ethopia was this shitty ditty. AKA ‘the White Man’s Burden Redux,’ it set the standard for charity pop talking down to the entire African continent.

And, yes, they do know it’s Christmas, over 60% of Ethiopians celebrate it.

***

Were there any we missed? Are there any (literate) fans of ‘Christmas Shoes’ out there? Leave a comment and let us know. Also, stay tuned for Joe Kukura’s  defense of ‘the Little Drummer Boy.’

Happy holidays.

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Charles Daly - Cut-Rate Curmudgeon

Charles Daly - Cut-Rate Curmudgeon

Charles has stories in a number of small journals, but who doesn't? He lives in east Asia and works on an Olivetti typewriter named 'Lovely Rita.' All his heroes died of syphilis in the 19th century.
http://dalyprose.com/