Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Songs - The Good, The Meh, and The Ugly

Now that the holidays are in full swing, I allow myself to listen to Christmas music on the radio.

Over the years, I've found that there are some Christmas songs I still love. Others are just okay. And then there are the holiday songs that is akin to fingernails screeching against a chalkboard.

The Good... (in no particular order)

1. Christmas Time is Here (from A Charlie Brown Christmas). We watch this animated movie every year. Love it! The song itself is a Vince Guaraldi masterpiece. It's sweet and gentle...and it always gets me in the holiday mood.

2. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole. It's Nat King Cole! 'Nuff said.

3) Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth - David Bowie and Bing Crosby. I remember seeing this
video on MTV as a kid, and I was mesmerized. My brain flipped out just seeing these two very different artists singing together. Apparently, David Bowie hated Little Drummer Boy, so the Peace on Earth part was written for him. Bing Crosby died just five weeks later.

4) Home for the Holidays - The Carpenters. To this day, there isn't a voice that possesses as much purity as Karen Carpenter's. So sad how she died, but hearing her sweet vocals makes me smile...and hungry for some pumpkin pie.

5) Star Bright - Vanessa Williams. I believe Vanessa Williams is highly underrated as a singer. This song showcases her talent. I associate this song with my oldest child, as he loved this song when he was little. It's a gorgeous song with a beautiful, smooth, jazzy melody.

6) 12 Days of Christmas - The McKenzie Brothers. It's crude, but it makes me laugh. I know many people hate this song, but anything that cracks me up is a winner. I learned a lot about Canadians from this song.

7) Christmas Eve/Sarajevo - Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This song packs one helluva punch. I imagine Santa on a giant sled being pulled by fire breathing dragons. He raises his battle ax as thunder and lightning fill the dark sky. Yeah, I know. I'm weird.

8) Mary Did You Know - Pentatonix. Yes, this is a brand new song. I've been a fan of this a capella group since they won The Sing Off. This song is simply amazing. It's hard to believe there's no music here; all all five members' voices are perfect. This version blows Kenny Rogers and Clay Aiken out of the water. Especially Clay Aiken.

The Meh...

1) All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey. I used to own her Christmas album. Maybe I'm burned out on it. I don't hate it, but I don't like it like I used to.

2) Jingle Bell Rock - Hall & Oats. I'm a fan of this group, but I'm not as keen on this holiday staple.

3) Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg. This song used to make me stop and listen to it every time it came on the radio. It's just so...sad. It's still a good song, but it's depressing. Don't let sad alcoholics hear this song.

4) Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano. I actually don't like this song very much, but it's fun to scream it at the top of your lungs in the car. It takes 0.231 seconds to learn all the lyrics since there's only about a dozen words. It's the song that never ends.

5) Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid. When this song came out, it was a big deal. I was in the sixth grade, and it was on the radio all the time during the holidays. These days, the song's lyrics are pretty condescending when you think about it. Half of Africans are Christians!

The Ugly...

1) Winter Wonderland - The Eurythmics. I think this song just sounds terrible, and I love The Eurythmics. The whole thing is a mess. Makes me want to throw a sleigh bell at Annie Lennox.

2) Last Christmas - Wham! My daughter loves this song. Me? I hate it. I often stick up for George Michael. Just not here. This is one fart-of-a-Christmas song.

3) Baby It's Cold Outside - Every version of this song. This song is creepy as hell. It's like the guy is slipping Roofies into the girl's drink. Just wrong. Date rape ain't festive.

4) Christmas Don't Be Late - The Chipmunks. I want to jump off a cliff when I hear this.

5) Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer - Elmo and Patsy. I've got a sense of humor, but this song frays my nerves. It's a bad song with bad lyrics...and an equal bad message. When I was a kid, it was funny, sure. But not so much now. I guess it's because I know how expensive it would be to fix a mortally wounded Grandma.

6) Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney. This song sounds like a 7 year old wrote it. The keyboard playing sounds like a horrible video game soundtrack from 1982. Yuck!

7) Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt/Madonna. Gold digger!!!

8) Christmas Shoes - Newsong. I'm sorry, but this has to be one of the worst Christmas songs EVER. Cheesy-to-the-max! It's over-the-top melodrama that makes me physically ill. I'd like to smack the songwriter in the head with my own Christmas Shoe.

So I don't end this post on a negative note, I'd like to leave you with Pentatonix's Mary Did You Know.

I will be taking a little Christmas holiday, but I'll be back before the end of 2014. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and take care!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Have a great holiday break!
I've never liked the Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer song either.
However, I still know all the words to the McKenzie Brothers' song.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I love that TSO song! It's my favorite. Probably helps that the video they play features kittens. But I always love it when they play it in concert.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Out of all the songs you've mentioned here, guess which one is now stuck in my head? "Last Christmas" by Wham! Sigh.

Enjoy the holidays, Jay!

Jay Noel said...

Alex: It's like a novelty gift. It's funny at first, but you throw it away or re-gift it. Merry Christmas!

Diane: They need to make a new video with Santa taking on a bunch of orcs in the snow.

Madeline: It's a terrible earworm!

Jenna Howard said...

The one song that makes me homicidal is Glee's We Need A Little Christmas. Could be because when it first came out it was pretty much every other Christmas song being played in the bookstore. Stabby, stabby.

Thankfully there's my holiday tune stash that makes me not so stabby.

And Bob & Doug's 12 Days of Christmas is awesome. That and the Muppets version.

Sarah Foster said...

Aww, I actually do like a couple of the "bad" songs, haha. But I agree, that "Christmas Shoes" song is just horrible. Have a good break!

DEZMOND said...

my fave is WONDERFUL DREAMS from late Melanie Thornton. It is often used in Coca Cola commercials.

Jay Noel said...

Jenna: I'm sure the fact that they played everything Glee at Chapters every day also contributed to your hating them. I can't blame you one bit!

Sarah: At one point, I liked all of these songs too...some more fleeting than others.

Dez: I never thought of that one! It's a beautiful song.

Robin said...

Novelty songs are fun (some more so than others), but they'll never top the carols. That isn't to say a fresh take on an old song won't be fantastic (there have been some excellent recordings in recent years!). I, too, love the Pentatonix song. Farawayeyes at The Far Away Series used that song in her last installment of Battle of the Bands (Dec. 1). You'll be happy to know it won:)

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your break, love your choice of songs.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love Pentatonix too. I'm not sure if I have a favorite Christmas song. Different ones fit my different moods. I pretty much agree with your bad choices though.

Cynthia said...

I love The Charlie Brown Christmas song. I've never been that into the 12 Days of Christmas though. Whenever I hear it, regardless of who is singing it, I feel like I'm listening to someone nagging at me.

Emily R. King said...

I with you on Santa Baby. It's like claws scraping out my ears. Bleck.

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

haha i still LOVE Mariah's AIWFCIY but then again I was a huge Mariah fan my whole life (well until I paid an exorbitant amount of $ for tickets for my 22nd and Mariah decided to throw a diva fit and cut her concert short by over an hour...) overall Snowed In by Hanson is my go-to number one fav holiday album! have a great break!

Christine Rains said...

I really love #3 in your good list. I like Feliz Navidad by Boney M. Growing up, my neighbors would play that album over and over and over. So that song always says Christmas to me. Have a fantastic break! :)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Wow, I agree with your assessment on all of these! Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer is my most hated Christmas song of all time.

Loni Townsend said...

Hehehe, I don't think I've heard #8 on your bad list song, but that's for leaving us with Mary, Did You Know!

M Pax said...

Now I have the Paul McCartney song playing in my head... I like Jingle Bell Rock. My favorites are done by the oldies. Guess I'm a traditionalist.

cleemckenzie said...

Loading up the CD's tonight with some Manheim Steamrollers Christmas songs and kicking back by the fire. House decorated. Dinner planned. Gifts. . .well, they're underway.

Merry Christmas or whatever.

Carrie Butler said...

The Christmas Shoes is the most soul-sucking, depressing song of the season. Whenever it comes on, I cover my ears and sing something else over top of it. lol

Julie Dao said...

Oh, I love ALL of the music in Charlie Brown! It always gets me into the Christmas mood! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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