Saturday, December 10, 2011

Retiring these Chestnuts

"I get so tired of listening to the Black Eyed Peas. It's rock music for those who don't like rock, rap for those who don't like rap, and pop music for those who don't like music." 
- Robert California, The Office

Often, I feel the same way about Christmas music. Don't get me wrong. I love the festivities. I love much of the happiness. I love the sacred and profane songs that celebrate (or intimate) this time of the year. But there are so many songs that we hear pumped through the loudspeakers and car radios while going about our business (especially if our business consisted of going through retail businesses). So much of the songs and the interpretations of the songs (and the spoofs of those songs, or the novelty songs) are so bad, I just don't want to hear them again. They actually make Christmas a bit less joyous for me.

'Christmas Rush in Dublin' photo (c) 2004, Irish Typepad - license:

But I know that I'm not alone in this feeling. So I conducted in an informal survey via Facebook.  Of roughly eighty responses (most people voted for more than one song), these were the Top Tiring Songs of the Christmas Season:

  • Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer (17 hits) 
  • Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk this Christmas
  • Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
  • I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus
  • Santa Baby
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  • Happy Holidays
  • Christmas Shoes (Edit. Overlooked this purportedly awful song)
  • Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire
  • 12 Pains of Christmas
  • The Little Christmas Stocking with the Hole in the Toe (1 hit)
  • Baby It's Cold Outside (ditto)

Now, let's follow that up with two questions.
First: What Christmas or holiday songs aggravate you? You just want to stuff them back into the closet of mediocrity or drown them in the pool of horrible dreams and forget about them. Let their names never be spoken of again.
Second: What Christmas or holiday season songs still send shivers down your spine - in a good way, that is? It could be a song or an album, or a particular version of a song.
An example for me, despite the obvious - Vince Guaraldi's theme music for the Charlie Brown Christmas special - I would have to say is Sufjan Steven's "O Come, O Come Emanuel."


  1. Still get chills when I hear "Do They know it's Christmas?"

  2. Is that the John Lennon classic?

  3. Though it's played seldom this time of year, or anytime, I love "Joseph's Lullaby".

  4. Anonymous10:40 PM

    The Hooters' "Silent NIght." Good luck trying to find it, but it worth the search.

    Goo Goo Dolls' "Better Days:" I keep hitting replay until whoever is with me begs me to stop.

  5. Anonymous10:47 PM

    Jon Anderson (lead singer for Yes) put out a Christmas album years ago, with Vangelis (the "Chariots of fire" guy - man, am I dating myself!) called "3 Ships." It is likely only found in cut-out bins or used album/CD racks. Dig for it. Wonderful versions of old stuff and originals. It's not Christmas at my house until this gets played. It includes "O Holy Night," my favorite version of my favorite carol that is too often utterly destroyed by people working too hard to be dramatic.

  6. Over the Rhine has a tremendous Christmas/seasonal album called Snow Angels, which does the awesome job of using some classics as inspiration.

  7. allen b.4:23 AM

    one song to put on the scrape heap is Dominic the donkey. but the songs i love include; "Silent Night", O Holy Night", and many of the songs from Christmas Eve services (except We Three Kings, it is so laboreous.)
    in the rock genre, Greg Lake's "I Blieve in Father Christmas" is my #1 choice.


Be kind. Rewind.