I listen to A LOT of Christmas music at this time of the year (as in I go to my collection for albums of the stuff) compared to most people who usually can’t stand the repetitive nature of the music, as there are a dozen or two songs that get repeated a gazillion times, so you do get a lot more duplication this time of year than you do than with many other playlists. And you get it in every store you go into. And every other commercial on TV (which I thankfully miss, having abandoned broadcast TV some time back).
Nevertheless, there are some pieces of music, and artists, that above the usual noise. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, for example. Naturally, having mentioned them, here’s a song to play (with a blank vid) while you read on:
So let’s get into the list of musical abominations we are subjected to every year that should result in lynching:
1. The redundantly repetitive song (again) – Primary sinner in this category, The 12 Days of Christmas. I’m sure it works in a kids Christmas play if done cutely (although you have to Google some of that shit because the first few verses may be the same damned bird, repackaged), and there are a few joke versions out there that milk it like a dried out cow, but damn, after the 5th verse, it becomes an unwieldy piece of shit. Second prize goes to The First Noel. There’s 5 verses (and I found a sixth. Holy asspills!) and for the song to make sense, you have to sing them ALL. This one can be saved by a good rendition. I have a version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that kicks serious ass (in magic underpants). But any Christmas song that can’t crank it out in 2-3 verses, be afraid.
2. The failed big orchestration – This is when you take a big song, that is pure awesomesauce, go for the big sound, and deliver a completely underwhelming performance. An example would be trying to belt out the Hallelujah chorus with 6 people. Or you decide to add orchestra, and in the process, your 2 horns destroy your sopranos. Or you put your soloists on a mic and the choir backing them sings really quiet. Your song, no matter what, then officially sucks.
3. The kids khoir – Now I’m not talking talented kids who have honed their per-pubescent voices into instruments of power singing in a choir with songs pitched to maximize their voices. I’m talking kids rendition of songs that make the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas sound good (because if it weren’t in context, no one would care. And if you heard the last bar of the song that got cut out, ouch.). Kids singing Christmas music with all their atonal messiness should be confined to school pageants, occasional caroling, and NEVER RECORDED FOR RELEASE!
4. The excessively styled song – This actually goes for a lot of R&B and related music as well, but when you start in with the Christmas music I get annoyed. I can understand putting your own style and flair into music. It’s what makes hearing the same dozen songs over and over enjoyable, or at least tolerable. But when you get someone who sings at least 30 notes for every one written, and the song gets changed so much that IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE THE SONG YOU’RE SINGING, then perhaps you should go back and sing the song with less damned ornamentation. There is beauty in a clear, sustained note, folks.
5. The joke songs – I remember the first joke Chrismas song I ever heard. It was the “classic” Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. It was the greatest song I ever heard. When I was 8. And only the first 1000 times I heard it. After that (about age 9), it was still inducing some giggles. 10,000 times later, there’s little chance my kids will hear it, since I can’t stand the song. Christmas songs already have to face the danger of what i call the Achey Breaky Syndrome (don’t even get me on that story). This is the danger of taking a mediocre song and playing it so often that people ant to kill about 3 bars into it. This can take even the best songs ever written and render them unplayable. And joke songs are the most susceptible, because their selling point is not the melody or orchestration, but the lyrics. Once they’re memorized (and no longer that funny), your song is done.
6. Multiple offender songs – Songs that use more than one of the above sins as a selling point. The perfect example? The song is All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth. The video I’ve linked to (because I’m not embedding that piece of shit, I’ll embed vid from the 2 girls 1 cup site first) is from Lawrence Welk (correction, this clip comes form the Al Alberts (guy I have to Google) Showcase. But who really gives a shit?). It’s 2:55 in length. The challenge is to watch through it with the volume up. They try to take a jokey and excessively repetitive song, a cute but atonal kid missing said teeth, the orchestral leanings of Lawrence Welk (I assume you younger folk are now Googling the question “Who the fuck is Lawrence Welk?”).
7. Justin Fucking Bieber – Technically, it’s any of the current pop flavor churning out shit to their preteen idiot audience. But since the current bitch is Bieber, ’nuff said.
Based on these criteria, are there any Christmas songs that should NEVER be played again? And if it’s a classic (like Jingle Bells) that’s been performed by lots of people, please note the offending artist.
Also, in trying to fill out my list, I found this competition to find Christmas dreck.
(updated: Corrected some grammar (since I hit publish a bit too fast) and the “credit” for the horrible 2 ffont teeth song)