‘Tis the Season for Bad Christmas Music

 

The Christmas season brings with it holiday music: some quite good, some not so good, and some wonderfully bad. Every wave of popular music brings with it eventual Christmas singles or albums. Singing stars, and others, seem drawn like the wise men following the star. Consider a few examples, but do set your beverage down before listening, as some are inadvertently merry and bright.

We start, of course, with disco. At the tail end of the disco craze, you could expect orchestras to show they are with it. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra did not disappoint, recording a medley, “Hooked on Christmas” in 1981. The Universal Robot Band released “Disco Christmas” in 1977, straddling street cred and sentiment. Then there were the combined efforts of various session musicians and disco labels. Salsoul released the 1976 album whose cover art you see here. I think the Salsoul OrchestraChristmas Medley” is better than the philharmonic attempt. All of these are better than the perhaps earnest attempt by Charo: “Mamacita, Donde este Santa Clause.” Then there is the album by Mirror Image, a group of studio musicians, turned out Disco Noël with “Silver Bells” as you’ve never heard it before:

The tradition of Christmas novelty tunes goes back a long way, with early examples like Spike Jones & His City Slickers 1948 recording, “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth).” Joe Diffie’s recent “Leroy The Redneck Reindeer” follows the tradition of Lou Monte and “Dominick The Donkey.” Elmo & Patsy’s “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” is terribly catchy, silly, and possibly obnoxious:

Rap, hip hop if you prefer, has its share of Christmas (w)rapping. Consider Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin.” Of course, the biggest names had to get in on the act. See Run DNC’s “Christmas in Hollis:”

Stars have taken their turn at old standards, with mixed results. Consider Bob Dylan attempting “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” At least William Shatner is entirely self-aware, but what on earth was Judy Collins doing, joining him in “White Christmas?”

Then there is the long line of contemporary songs in various genres, for which your mileage may vary. Elvis Presley’s 1968 live recording of “Blue Christmas” wears fairly well, as does Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run,” provided you like their other music. Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is quite bubbly, while Wham! gives you big hair 1980s pop in “Last Christmas.” José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” is a staple of holiday radio and shopping music. Consider the fun he has with Daryl Hall (Live From Daryl’s House):

https://youtu.be/PvwbBkGasQg

In a similar vein, ABBA fans still like “Happy New Year,” although the appeal may not be apparent to others. If you like the Kinks and 1970s rock, you will appreciate Father Christmas,” else not. At the far edge of this, I think you have to be a hard core Dropkick Murphys fan to appreciate “The Season’s Upon Us.” I found it too misanthropic, and if it catches the family dysfunctions’ fueled by alcoholic lifestyles, the listener is left wondering what the other family members think of the singers.

I leave you with more pleasant fare. Boney M. “Mary’s Boy Child,” popularizing Jester Hairton’s gospel song, is a great sonic palette cleanser after all these offerings:

Published in Group Writing
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 40 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    My wife loves Pentatonix*, so the Sirius/XM is always tuned to channel 105 this time of year: “Holly, Pop Christmas.” They seem to alternate good songs with the worst garbage imaginable: John Legend’s bowdlerized Baby It’s Cold Outside, any version of Santa Baby not by Eartha Kitt, Michael Bubble’s sterile smarm, every version of Last Christmas. But, by far the worst is this**:

    * Pentatonix actually does good, respectful versions of both carols and pop songs.

    ** This is truly awful, and not in a fun-bad or so-bad-it’s-good way. No, it’s “You’ll want to clean out your ears with bleach” bad. What, you didn’t read the footnotes before clicking on the video? I thought you would have learned by now.

    I might have guessed. Thanks for the warning. I’ll steer well clear.

    • #31
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Silver Bells Disco Noel so makes me want to sit down and watch an episode of CHiPs!

    Now I have the SWAT theme song in my head.

    • #32
  3. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Silver Bells Disco Noel so makes me want to sit down and watch an episode of CHiPs!

    You mean Disco Cops?

    • #33
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Very country.

    • #34
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This topic obviously is as rich as ugly Christmas sweaters. Speaking of which, perhaps someone will contribute a post on that topic or holiday attire more generally.

    • #35
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Apparently Romanian twins who had a brief brush with success in Europe, after which they of course had to do a Christmas tune or so.

    • #36
  7. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    kedavis (View Comment):

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Silver Bells Disco Noel so makes me want to sit down and watch an episode of CHiPs!

    You mean Disco Cops?

    CHiPs was disco cops as far as I’m concerned. It would be interesting to know how many episodes included some disco dancing. I distinctly remember one where they delivered a baby on the dance floor. I regret that I can remember that but not cite the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V. A misspent youth.

    • #37
  8. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    At least Charo was pleasing to the eyes-she needed a music video to get sales-but I respectfully nominate any Mariah Carey Christmas song for the bad category

    • #38
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MiMac (View Comment):

    At least Charo was pleasing to the eyes-she needed a music video to get sales-but I respectfully nominate any Mariah Carey Christmas song for the bad category

    Was Charo the first “hootchie-girl?”  Wouldn’t surprise me.

    • #39
  10. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    The best version since the original:

     

    • #40
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.