Guys. GUYS. So, last week Jenny did a great little playlist for all you Christmas music lovers, and we all had to submit our top five holiday songs. Do you know what I did? I turned on SomaFM's Xmas in Frisko station and wrote down the first five songs that didn't make me want to punch my dog, and I LOVE my dog (I'd never actually punch her, no matter how many times I have to hear Taylor Swift). As the resident grinch around here, I figured surely, SURELY someone else also gets super annoyed by Christmas music sometime in, oh, OCTOBER and can barely survive until Boxing Day. This year, since most of the Christmas tunes I'm hearing are either sung by or for the benefit of my 2-year-old, I'm not as cranky as usual, but I still managed to muster enough three-sizes-too-small to bring you a list of our most despised holiday songs ever. Sorry about getting them all stuck in your heads; at least there's not a Spotify playlist -- I could in no way justify sending any royalties the way of the asshole who invented Alvin and the Chipmunks. Instead, you get a rare peek into the e-mail arguments that go down among us FYAers every week, as we each submit songs and at least one person thinks it's possible to defend them. So for my fellow grinches, Scrooges, and non-Christians who get sick to death of hearing about Christmas and would like one, JUST ONE song that mentions Solstice that's not sung by Dar Williams (though I do like that song), I present the list!
Y’all, I actually don’t hate any holiday songs. THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Sure, there are some that I love more than others, and there are certainly versions of songs that should never, ever exist, but I will never say no to any Christmas tune. Basically, holiday songs are my musical equivalent of alcohol. So, since I’m not a hater like SOME PEOPLE on this site, I’ve decided to defend a few of the victims on this list. Let’s get ready to JINGLE!
Alix: I can only refute this misguided attitude by directing you to the more sensible comments from everyone else on the FYA Carol Committee.
Jenny: I actually can’t listen to the radio during the Christmas season, because most stations (with the exception of Sirius’ 40s on 4) seem to only play all of the most awful of awful, and make me hate every person and Christmas and the world.
Meghan: Mainly, I just like the Grinch song.
5. "All I want for Christmas" - Mariah Carey
Posh: Jenny, WHAT? How can you HATE this song? It’s so poppy and happy and it’s one of the few holiday songs that can make people full on BUST A MOVE. Do you secretly hate Christmas? ARE YOU A COMMUNIST?
Megan: I’m going to jump in and defend Jenny, because that song is mad overrated and way overplayed.
Erin: what? Are y'all crazy? That's only the greatest Mariah song EVER RECORDED. Plus did you see the video with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots and Mariah and the school instruments?
Jenny: Obviously, there’s no arguing with the fact that Ms. Carey has amazing vocal range, but I’m going to have to paraphrase some Dr. Ian Malcom here. Everybody’s so impressed that she CAN hit those squeally fingernails-on-chalkboard high notes, that nobody stops to question whether she SHOULD. In a pop song. Also, I have far too many delicate and delightful fragile glass ornaments to allow that kind of shrieking in my house. AND, I’m sorry, but nobody EVER only wants another person’s love for Christmas,(parents with their children excluded) unless that person is the type of unbalanced individual who would stop wanting them the minute they got them.
Meghan: But Jenny! Love, Actually! (OK, I know it's sung by someone else, but still! Mariah's version is awesome)
4. "Christmas Time Is Here" - Alvin & The Chipmunks
3. "Feliz Navidad"
2. "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"
1. Schmaltzy pop covers of traditional Christmas songs
Meghan: With the exception of "All I Want for Christmas", your list is utterly indefensible. Very little is worse than way downtempo, yodelly and/or croony and/or faux singer-songwritery covers done to revive deservedly flagging pop careers.
5. "Dominick the Donkey"
4. "Christmas Shoes"
3. "Little Drummer Boy" -- This song is an abomination. Don’t listen to Megan, there is no good version of it ever, not even by the Dandy Warhols.
Megan: Nooooo, that version is amazing. Plus, the Bing/Bowie version is great. Hell, I’m even partial to the 98 Degrees version. Viva la Drummer Boy!
Jenny: Have you even HEARD Joan Jett’s version?!!!
Meghan: I have heard them, and they are ALL AWFUL.
2. "I Think You Might Like" by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta -- This song was just released, but it - and its accompanying music video - has already rocketed to the top of my “worst songs ever” list. Not even just worst Christmas songs, but all terrible music ever recorded. FYA pal Meredith Borders has already said everything I feel and more over at our brother site, BAD, so please check that out. It is, as one commenter noted, “Travolting”
Posh: But Alix... ok, yeah, there is absolutely no way to to defend this song. Baby Jesus is crying right now.
1. Anything off the Bob Dylan Christmas album, but especially, horribly, "Adeste Fideles" -- about five years ago, my sister was apparently on the Naughty list, because Santa gave her husband a bacon-scented air freshener in his Christmas stocking. In retaliation, my sister gave this CD to my father -- a huge Dylan fan -- a few Christmases later, and then we all had to listen to it on Christmas morning. It is, without a doubt, one of the worst albums ever recorded. By the time "Adeste Fideles" started, the entire family stopped unwrapping presents and about pissed ourselves laughing, because it is the worst song ever. It sounds like Jimmy Fallon impersonating Bob Dylan while drunk and being clubbed to death by his own arm, which has just been ripped off by a particularly destructive walrus.
5. "Jingle Bell Rock" -- I don’t know, this probably isn’t top 5 worst song, but it’s playtime to annoyance ratio is pretty high.
4. "Santa Baby" -- UHHHH, there is nothing worse than creepy sexaulized Christmas songs. Santa’s a fat man who gives children presents. Stop singing about wanting to get up on his junk. Just stop.
Jenny: AMEN! Although I’m actually okay with Eartha Kitt’s version -- on occasion. But Madonna took a slightly sexualized Christmas song and made it fully disgusting. Stop trying to be a sexy baby, Madonna!
Erin: I can't even with you two. How are you supposed to get the deed to a platinum mine without Santa's help? Although, agreed on Madonna's version. Eartha all the way!
3. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" -- Ditto. This is like, a creepy story about a boy walking in on his parents. WHY IS IT A XMAS SONG? This is a story the kid should be telling his therapist.
Meghan: OMG. How did I forget about this one?? And since I did, THANKS FOR REMINDING ME, MEGAN.
2. "Blue Christmas" -- Look, I generally don’t like Elvis songs, but this one takes the cake. Everytime I hear that “wooooo” in the background, I want to set the world on fire.
Erin: Look at your life. Look at your choices. How can you say this? "Blue Christmas" is so lovely and wistful and it's Elvis, damnit!
Posh: This is a great example of a universal Christmas truth: There is ALWAYS a good version of every holiday song (i.e. Christmas covers are easy money). And in this case, we can thank She & Him.
Jenny: I’ve got to agree with Posh. She & Him rock this song.
Meghan: They do! The fact that this is one of only two songs on this entire list I’m willing to defend should be proof!
1. "Christmas Shoes" -- TAKE THAT WOMAN TO A HOSPITAL, GET THAT KID TO A SOCIAL WORKER, DO ANYTHING AT ALL, REALLY, EXCEPT BUY A GODDAMN PAIR OF FUCKING STUPID SHOES. This song is everything that is wrong with humanity.
Erin: CONCURRED. Look, I'm all about the restorative power of retail therapy but SHOES DON'T CURE IMMINENT DEATH SYNDROME.
1. "Do They Know it’s Christmas" -- Mother of all things holy, I hate this song sooo much, it's like flames, on the side of my face, burning, heaving breasts. Ugh! God, could this song be any more smug and sanctimonious? First of all, the song presumes that every poor person in the world is a Christian, and then it presumes that said starving Christians are so hungry they forget what time of year it is. STFU, SONG; I HATE YOU.
Posh: Erin, I agree that this song is completely self-righteous and totally demeaning to the people it’s supposed to be serving. It’s just all kinds of wrong. BUT! But. I can’t bring myself to hate it, because SO MANY ‘80s POP STARS. Like, the fact that someone managed to dupe all of these famous (well, some more than others) singers into performing this sin against humanity is kind of MIRACULOUS. And isn’t Christmas all about miracles?
2. "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time" -- Paul is my sixth-favorite Beatle, and I REALLY hate this song. The stupid chorus gets stuck in my head and it's so cloying and I JUST CAN'T DEAL.
Megan: I warned the other FYA ladies when we first proposed this endeavor that anyone who dared put Wonderful Christmas time would LOSE MY FRIENDSHIP and INCUR MY FOREVER WRATH. Erin, that gauntlet be THROWN.
3. Any version of "White Christmas" that isn't the Otis Redding version -- I don't really know what it is, but Otis's version of "White Christmas" is the only one I can stand to listen to. (Yeah, I know; not even Bing's!) I think it's because it's the first version I remember gearing, so it's the one that stuck with me. Bonus: for at least ten years I thought he was singing about mayo: Mayonnaise, Mayonnaise! Be merry! So merry and bright!
4. Anything by Trans Siberian Orchestra, full stop, period.
Meghan: Does the same go for Mannheim Steamroller? Pretty please??
I saved mine for last, because it includes everything everyone else mentioned, except "All I Want for Christmas" (hello, Love Actually??!) and She & Him's cover of "Blue Christmas"
1. "Feliz Navidad" by anyone
Posh: But Meghan, have you ever seen Charo perform this song on Peewee’s Playhouse? It is MIND BLOWING. Seriously, watch this video and tell me that you still hate this song.
Meghan: Nope, I still HATE it. I only got through about 4 seconds of that video.
2. "Little Drummer Boy"
3. "Last Christmas" - almost anyone, but ESPECIALLY Taylor Swift
Alix: As a lover of both Last Christmas and Taylor Swift, I still have to regretfully agree with your assessment of that particular cover. But the original version is SPECTACULAR! WHAM FOREVER!
Erin: No version of Last Christmas is spectacular, Alix. Except my version, which goes: "Last Christmas, I gave you the syph but the very next day, you gave it away, to a hot pool boy in Cabo San Lucas"
Meghan: Erin, your version is now the only one I have and will ever love.
4. "Silver Bells"
Megan: I have one word for you. Rockapella.
Meghan: Megan, I have one word for you. NOPE.
Jenny: I LOVE "Silver Bells." But only sung by Bing Crosby. It makes me want to buy gifts for the world.
Alix: I’m with Meghan on this one. It’s just so... awful. And I hadn’t heard that Rockapella version before, but I now hate it. Seriously, it makes me want to go dropkick some cheerful elves. THANKS MEGAN.
5. Redneck anything, but especially "Redneck 12 Days of Christmas"
5a. Actually, the regular "12 Days of Christmas," too, except Eddie Izzard’s version
Jenny: Agreed. Eddie Izzard is the only person I can listen to.
6. "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree"
Erin: What? How can you hate "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"? Have you ever rocked around a Christmas tree? It's totally awesome!
Meghan: I have! And it was WAY AWESOMER than the song!
7. "Jingle Bell Rock"
And now, with "Last Christmas" playing on infinite loop through my brain, I'm going to go stick my head underwater until I pass out. (But I'll come up for air long enough to hear your comments on our lists!)