Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A little musical rant for the holidays.

Woo hoo, I won a couple of Christmas CD's over at Lilly's Blog, and they arrived today! Adding them now into the rotation now. I don't remember how I found her blog, but I've been reading regularly since I did.  And that was even before she gave me presents. Many thanks, Lilly!

And this brings us neatly to my topic: Christmas music I hate.  You heard me.  I'm not really a Grinch, but there are songs that get played this time each year that I just loathe.  Tonight, I took my kids to a restaurant to save me having to cook (have I mentioned how this is a crazy time of year in my business?) and that awful song with the dogs barking to the tune of "Jingle Bells" came on.  It was new to my older son, and he immediately started laughing.  He said, "Can you imagine the poor musician?  His boss calls him and says, 'Hey, I want you to make a remix of Jingle Bells using... (mimics inhaling on a joint)... dogs.'"  Later he started absent-mindedly singing to himself, "Bark, bark, bark... Oh my God!  Worst. Earworm. Ever!"

In fact, I don't like any "funny" Christmas songs, and I don't reserve my ire for songs sung by dogs and chipmunks.  "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" isn't funny. It's stupid.  I don't know if it's mocking Southerners or just a redneck version of comedy, but I don't like it.

There is the entire class of songs that merge Christmas with sex that make me want to puncture my own eardrums.  I like Christmas.  And I love sex.  But there is nothing sexy about Santa Claus.  Nothing.  I am actually personally repulsed by Santa Claus and I'd lay money on him being a pedophile. Creepy old guy inviting children to sit on his lap. So "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Santa Baby" make me physically ill.

Rock and roll Christmas songs, too.  Ugh.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"? No.  Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"? Oh hell no.  And "Jingle Bell Rock"?  No, please, please, please no.  And curse you, Billy Idol, for making a cover of this song and ruining your bedroom voice for me.  I want "White Wedding" back, untarnished by the image of you looking smarmy as you sing this awful song.

Sappy Christmas songs.  Wham's "Last Christmas," a whiny little song about being hurt in love.  Oh, who hasn't been?  Don't sing about it to me at Christmas, I'm having a hard enough time as it is. Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time."  I don't even know why I don't like it, I just don't. Or what about "Do They Know It's Christmas?"  Look, it's great to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.  I'm all for that.  But I've got news for the Band-Aid folks - a third of that country's people are Muslim and there are a number of other religions (Judaism and Ba'hai, for instance) represented.  So should they even know it's Christmas?  How about we just help out and not push religion into it?

There is probably a special level of hell reserved for me just for saying this, but at the top of my list are songs by children.  Don't get me wrong - if I go to a school program where kids are singing, I get as teary-eyed as the next person.  But for the love of all that is holy, don't put them on the radio.  And especially don't put them on the radio singing maudlin songs.  "Christmas Shoes."  Holy God.  This one, if you've not had the misfortune of hearing it, is about a poor kid who doesn't have enough money to buy his bedridden dying mother shoes to wear when she meets Jesus.  Because apparently Jesus would snub her if she wasn't wearing pretty shoes at the moment of her death. In bed.  Honestly, what kind of Savior would that be?

So, you're asking yourself, what's her problem and doesn't she like any Christmas music at all?  Well, yes, yes I do. Classics, for instance. I like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.  Sue me.  And I like instrumentals.  What's wrong with a nice acoustic guitar? And I like modern versions of classics that make them interesting.  Like this cover, which sounds like it could have been recorded in Appalachia:

And old songs that you don't often hear, like this story of the shepherds responding to the call to go to the manger. (It's on the Kingston Trio's "Last Month of the Year" album, music that for me means all that is good about my family.)

And this understated, mildly jazzy version of "Greensleeves." If I ran a radio station at Christmas time, you can bet there would be fewer sappy/silly/icky songs and more of the sort that fill your soul.

38 comments:

  1. smiles..i like rocking christmas songs...i can get over my disdain even of stupid christmas songs knowing it will only last for a season...i do like the classics though...maybe a bit of jazz as well...

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    1. I should just make a play list in iTunes and switch to that, I guess.

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  2. ok, you had me laughing through this because pretty much i agree with you right down the line. though i will admit i rather like "the twelve pains of christmas." the sexy, the sappy, the rock, the children songs....yes, they get on my last nerve. but i have the bare naked ladies christmas album and i love it. (especially fond of elf's lament). and i do enjoy most of the classics. i have to admit though....greensleeves is not a song i enjoy. i have no rational explanation for it. just don't care for it. nat king cole, burl ives....yes :) and vince guaraldi too :)

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    1. The twelve pains of Christmas is from Runescape, which my kids play. I will have to look for Elf's Lament.

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  3. Blech, Christmas music makes me puke, especially when I hear it while I'm at the mall on Dec. 23rd desperately trying to find stocking stuffers. I'm even crabbier than you are because I even hate the classics. I just want everyone to shut the hell up and let me finish my shopping in peace. And I agree with you wholeheartedly that "Do They Know It's Christmas" is especially obnoxious and ethnocentric. I'd like you to forward your Christmas Carol Lament to every radio DJ on the planet. Please!

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    1. I don't often mind background shopping Christmas music, IF it's classics. And you know, I could forward it, but I don't think it would change a thing!

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  4. Interesting! I don't really care for Christmas music by and large. Kid concerts are darling, no matter what they perform. But if the genre disappeared from the planet, I'd be okay.

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    1. I do love seeing little kids sing. Somehow, that's completely different for me than the recorded songs.

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  5. You forgot the Beach Boy's "Little St. Nick"....and aren't you just the grinch.....lol. Yeah, agree with you on these songs, but i do confess to having a weakness for Jackson Browne's "Rebel Jesus". Also Nat King Cole.
    Ho Ho Ho

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    1. Little St. Nick falls under the rock category of abysmal Christmas music.

      I'll look up the Jackson Browne song - I do like him.

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  6. I'm not too big on the stupid Christmas songs, either, but then I'm not that big a fan in general. I think what gets to me most about the Rock and Roll Christmas songs is that they tend to not be true to either Rock or Christmas. They end up watered down and pathetic.

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    1. That's true - rock and Christmas really aren't compatible genres.

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  7. Wow I almost forgot you won something - new Christmas music - congrats and let us know if you like it.
    I probably would agree with a few of your dislike list but I like the rock versions of many of the songs. I even have a Reggae version of Christmas music but it's not big on my list.
    "Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rhum" by Jimmy Buffett would have you throwing a bottle of rum at me.

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    1. I guess I'm just a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music. I didn't know Jimmy Buffett had a Christmas song. I kind of hate to hear that.

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  8. Ha ha you made me laugh. That was so funny and I found that I was nodding my head. Yes you are so right about "Do you know its Christmas" - ergh. Oh and Wham - I think I am seeing those Christmas jumpers in my minds eye - was that what the two of them were wearing in the video for that song. Gosh I feel old.

    I do like Bing Crosby as you may know but when I went to my sisters yesterday she was playing Nat King cole. So beautiful, except every time I hear him and bawl my eyes out. My late father loved him so. One day I may be able to listen without the waterworks. And now I just read Should Fish More's comment about Jackson Browne. I have never heard that song but Jackson has been a favourite of mine all my life. I will have to check it out.

    Thanks so much for the shout out too. I just hope you like theseholiday sounds a wee bit. I love your visits to my blog and your great comments. And I love your writing style too. It always leaves me with a smile on my face so thank you.

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    1. You know that duet Natalie Cole made with her father after he was dead (Unforgettable)? That one makes me cry.

      And thank you!

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  9. I heard and met Margo at a house concert recently. Cool chick.

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  10. I think I blogged about this very thing one year. I truly don't like Christmas music. Worst offenders for me are Xmas Shoes and Dominic the Donkey. I refuse to listen to any of it. My one and only exception is BNL. And probably because of the Hanukkah songs! Plus that one about the elves making crappy little toys cracks me up everytime.

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    1. I really love some Christmas songs done right. But those are few.

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  11. I pretty much loathe all Christmas music. Always the same songs. Over and over and over and over again. By the time the Christmas season is half over I want to kill people. I'm pretty sure that's not what the Christmas spirit is supposed to be.

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    1. The radio stations seem to mostly play the awful ones over and over and over again. Why?

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  12. I don't mind Christmas music but not when it's played continuously from the middle of October! ;)

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  13. I hate just about every Christmas song, for the simple reason that I've heard them about 10,000 times too often. In shops, on the radio, on TV, over and over again. If I heard one of them for the very first time, I might actually enjoy it, but not when it's for the 9,732nd time.

    I feel sorry for Rudolph though, everyone making fun of his shiny red nose.

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    1. The thing that gets me about Rudolph is that Santa condoned the bullying until Rudolph became useful to me. What kind of story is that?

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  14. I don't like many of the modernized goofy ones either. The classics are my favorite as well.

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    1. I'm not a fan of goofy songs in general, but especially for Christmas.

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  15. I can't add to the conversation much here, as you covered it. My thoughts run directly towards "What you said." Classical, please. Novelty, NO.

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  16. I do not disagree with each and every song you have mentioned.
    The other night I was with a client and she chose to put on some Christmas music from a cable station on tv. It was quite enjoyable and it actually took me a moment to realize it was so enjoyable because it was all Christmas Carols and hymns they were playing. You just don't hear that on regular radio stations anymore.

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    1. If the radios played those songs more, I'd complain less.

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  17. Two points came to mind while reading this....1) A friend who is an ex-cop will not allow his daughters to sit on Santa's lap, even those Santas that he knows...they stand next to Santa's knee and tell him what they want. The friend believes that many of the hired Santas are closeted pedophiles.
    2) My daughter reported that the livestream from Minnesota Public Radio's Holiday Music is great. None of the songs on your list is on their playlist. www.mpr.org Click classical music, then the holiday music option. They have a fantastic classical music playlist in general.

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    1. That's my feeling about Santas - I'm suspicious.

      And thanks for the tip - I've got it playing now!

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  18. Seconded, thirded and forevered!
    XO
    WWW

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  19. I have been listening to our local station that plays Christmas all day and I agree with you that some of them I can't stand. I do love traditional music too and instrumental is also very nice however there are a few silly ones I like too but not the dogs or the grandma one!

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    1. I'm guessing everyone has their own quirkly list of disliked songs.

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