As noted previously, I sell shoes in the mall for a living. With the passing of Thanksgiving, it is now time to change the radio station to the local channel blaring Christmas music 24/7 and get an earful of the Christmas songs that I dislike. No, call it hate ... and most of these, I love to hate ...
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas: For the love of God, would someone please get her a hippo? They're the deadliest animals in Africa, and so any attempts at hippo domestication should reduce the number of annoying girls by one. The fact that her voice sounds like the growth stunted Batman villain Baby Dahl just puts the icing on the cake.
Need a Little Christmas: This is not a Christmas song! It's a song about how life is so depressing because we lost all our money in the depression -- and if we pretend it's Christmas it won't seem so bad. Also, it wouldn't be so bad if all the world didn't start thinking this way around, oh, September.
Santa Baby: Who decided that the Christmas song playlist needed a striptease/sugar daddy song? At least Eartha Kitt can sing, a big improvement over most of the covers, but this song is literally a girl alternately pouting and seducing an old man for stuff. This doesn't put me in a Christmas spirit at all.
My Favorite Things: This one is slightly unfair. I love it, but it's not a Christmas song! It's a song about how much someone loves stuff, and even that doesn't have much meaning for consumerist Christmas, as much of the stuff the singer loves can't be given as presents anyway. (Ever tried boxing cats to give someone "whiskers on kittens"? Flying wild geese aren't exactly gift-friendly either.)
Theory: Ex-Beatles should not make Christmas Music. Observations:
Happy X-mas/War Is Over: Ex-Beatle uses kid's choir to make his inane lyrics sound profound.
Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time: Ex-Beatle uses techno to make his inane music sound "modern."
Conclusion: Theory confirmed.
Christmas Shoes: As far as I can tell, this song was written to test how many tears can be wrung out of someone by being deliberately manipulative. Let's see, we have a poor kid wanting a cheap present for a dying mom so she can look good for Jesus when she meets Him in a few hours. Are you crying yet? No? Let's repeat the chorus with a children's choir!
Do They Know It's Christmas?: Apparently all of Africa is a dry, barren wasteland where they hear chimes of doom but not Christmas bells. I'm not big on playing "spot the racist," but hearing three white dudes talk about those black kids who live in Africa and therefore must be starving and have no access at all to Western Culture registers even on my "condescending white doofus" meter.
Christmas Is Here Again. Not sure if that's the actual title of this song as I can't seem to find it online, but the one lyric that causes me to both hate and remember it goes like this. "He'll [Santa] be here/ with the answer to the prayers that you've made through the year." Santa, all evidence to the contrary, is not *actually* the God of December.
Last Christmas: Taylor Swift, N'Sync -- doesn't matter. This song makes no sense as a Christmas song whatsoever ... If you replace the line "Last Christmas" with "Last Tuesday" the song would make no reference to Christmas whatsoever, as it's a song whinging about how the last boyfriend/girlfriend dumped the singer and how the singer will get back by finding someone new. Great! Just keep it on the pop stations that I avoid, please ...
Country covers of Silver Bells. I want to be more specific on this one, because I like "Silver Bells." It's a beautiful song, even if it's just about the secular side of Christmas. One of the things I like about it is that it's about a city Christmas -- no sleigh bells, no snow, just shoppers and street lights and sidewalks. Let the country singers have all the songs set in the countryside -- White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells -- and let the city dwellers keep our one city Christmas song. (Well, two -- It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas is clearly set in the city.)
Christmas carols sung by people who can't sing. This is a pretty fuzzy category, but here's the fundamental problem -- many pop singers have lousy singing technique. In their own genres, it's not as noticeable given the reliance on auto-tune and heavily produced music. But it seems like everyone feels a need to release at least one traditional Christmas carol to showcase their "talent." O Holy Night and Ave Maria seem to be favorites for this. Unfortunately, all those sloppy techniques -- inappropriate phrasing, weak breathing, poor enunciation, heavily accented vowels, overly-tightened vocal chords, breathiness, etc. -- cannot be hidden when the song is just a singer and a piano. And it is painful ...
So there are some of the songs that set my teeth on edge this season. What are yours, Ricochetti?