I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean I love everything about the holidays. One of the least favorite Christmas activities is listening to bad Christmas music. And if you have listened to your radio this week, you already know there is a lot of it being played.
Attempting to limit a list of bad Christmas tunes to just 10 selections was a much tougher job than I had anticipated. You could devote an entire list to nothing but songs by classic rock bands or singers with the last name ‘Jackson.’
So the following list is strictly judgmental and entirely my idea. Feel free to disagree with any or all of my choices.
1) “Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer” by Elmo And Patsy
This song might have been funny when it was written 25 years ago, but in today’s world, this is about as humorous as the average episode of “The Wiggles.” Even worse, it spawned an animated special, a number of spin-off songs, a ringtone and one truly dumb music video.
2) “Jingle Bells” by The Singing Dogs
I’m not sure what is the worst thing about this song. The fact that it spawned a series of singing dog albums, or the fact that it prompted someone to release a couple of “Jingle Cat” CD’s. I like dogs, but listening to them bark for 40 minutes is not my idea of holiday cheer.
3) “Last Christmas” by Jimmy Eats World
A cover version of a bad Christmas tune by Wham is a bad enough idea. But the finished product (which is included on the compilation CD “Music From the O.C. Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah”) sounds more like a cry for help than a Christmas classic. It meanders, it whines and seems to last forever.
4) “The Little Drummer Boy” by Jessica and Ashlee Simpson
Jessica Simpson is an impressive singer, and her Christmas CD, “Re-Joyce: The Christmas Album” is an overall entertaining package. But this tune — a duet with sister Ashlee — sounds more like a German military march than a Christmas tune. And without being unduly mean, let’s just say that Ashlee’s voice does not quite come up to the standards of her sister.
5) “The Christmas Song (Holiday Remix)” by Christina Aguilera
If you like your Christmas CDs to have a bit of bare midriff on the cover, than have I got a CD for you. Aguilera’s “My Kind Of Christmas” is predictably upbeat, but any track that is described as a ‘holiday remix’ is in need of a lot of creative help.
6) “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney
McCartney’s post-Beatles discography falls into two basic categories. There are the really great tunes, such as “Band On The Run” and “Jet.” And then there are the goofball, maudlin songs that often make me suspect those rumors about McCartney being replaced by a look-alike back in the 1970’s just might be true. While this song was a modest hit when it was released, it gets played a lot on the radio every year. And it’s managed to get more annoying as the years pass, primarily because the cheesy synthesizers and looping vocals make it more appropriate for playing at a roller skating rink than at a Christmas party.
7) “Redneck 12 Days of Christmas” by Jeff Foxworthy
Feel free to make up our own jokes about this tune. It’s just as bad as you would expect from any Christmas song that combines rednecks, Christmas and mobile homes.
8) “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” by James Brown
James Brown may be one of the best R&B singers ever, but his Christmas album is definitely an acquired taste. Sure, the tracks are funky and lively and easy to dance to. But I’m not sure that the thought of a funky Santa cleaning up the ghetto really gets me in the holiday spirit.
9) “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee
Yes, I know that this song is considered a classic by many music fans. But there is something about Lee’s piercing vocals and 1950’s delivery that has always managed to give me a headache.
10) “What Can You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)” from “Christmas In The Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album”
There have been a number of horrific Christmas albums released over the years, but “Christmas In The Stars” might just take the prize for being the weirdest, most painful holiday album ever made. Take some of the characters from “Star Wars,” mix in the music of Meco and the result transcends campy and goes straight to painful. “What Can You Get A Wookie?” is just as peculiar as you might imagine, and it is truly impossible to adequately describe. But I can guarantee that playing it at your next Christmas party won’t just clear the room, it’ll empty your entire block.