Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Die, Frosty, Die!

 

As I mentioned, loudly, on the podcast, the Christmas song I most despise is the awful, creaky, fake-fun “Frosty the Snowman,” which reeks of a brainstorming session among tired, cynical, slightly drunk advertising guys.

“We need a new Christmas thing!” one of them yelled.  ”Something Rudolphy.  Something fun.  But no religion, okay?”

And so this weird little story and its clunky song were born, and now it’s just this thing we have to put up with every year.

This afternoon, as I was complaining about it, a good friend of mine reminded me:  it’s a bad Christmas song, of course, but not as bad as Paul McCartney’s dreadful “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time,” which should be on one of those International War Crimes lists.  Here’s a snippet of its lyrics, if using the word “lyrics” is appropriate for this:

The party’s on/The feelings here/It’s all because/This time of year

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

Don’t cry poor children, sing this song

Ding, dong, ding, dong, Ding, dong, ding.

God, I hate that song.  So those are my two: Frosty, and McCartney.  What are yours?

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  1. Profile Photo Member

    My Christmas will be complete if I can only make it through the entire season without hearing the tired old “Grandma Got Run Ove By A Reindeer” and the truly inane Dogs Barking Jingle bells.

    The Grandma song was okay in 1979, it was old by 1981.

    • #1
    • December 24, 2010, at 2:03 AM PST
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  2. Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Coolidge
    Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Kenneth

    Sisyphus: For me it has to be the Chipmunks. It comes on the car radio and I start scanning the road ahead of me for potential road kill. And anything by John Lennon. I start scanning for pedestrians with those prissy little glasses. There seem to be fewer of them now.

    Time for my medication. Later! · Dec 23 at 9:27pm

    Edited on Dec 23 at 09:28 pm

    I once took a job as Director of Store Operations for a multi-state department store company. About a month after I started, my assistants came to me with a Muzak menu of Christmas music options for our stores.

    I was way too busy to care about it, so I just looked up at them and said, “All Chipmunks all of the time.” · Dec 23 at 9:39pm

    Okay, normally I would put something like this off for the holiday, but it is Christmas Eve and Kenneth has obviously been possessed by the arch-demon David Seville. In this audience there must be a trained exorcist, or at least someone who knows one. I think I can find my copy of the rite, found my chains and whips.

    • #2
    • December 24, 2010, at 2:52 AM PST
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  3. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    For utter maudlin horror, I think the worst is “The Christmas Shoes.” It was played absolutely everywhere you went in Wisconsin one year. I thought it might be a geographic thing, but I have heard it once or twice since we moved. Perhaps, like its heroine, it has died a merciful death.

    • #3
    • December 24, 2010, at 5:51 AM PST
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  4. Tommy De Seno Contributor

    I guess I’ll have to be the kitchy traditionalist and disagree with Rob and the rest.

    I play guitar at the family Christmas party every year, and I have to tell you that the “thumpety thump thump” part at the end of Frosty is a fun little breakdown that allowes me to rock the rare bar chord during Chrstmas. I try to sneak in 3 of them at the end of the song.

    Plus I hate to point out the obvious (actually I love pointing out the obvious) but it’s a kid’s song – a very little kid’s song. It needn’t be intricate.

    To get political for a moment – ease up on Lennon’s song. Hoping war is over isn’t a sign of a liberal. Every grunt in field would rather it be over, and peace is a good message on the celebration of Christ’s birth.

    I do find it odd when conservatives are afraid to enjoy the music of a liberal like Lennon (who we now know wasn’t so liberal) or Bruce. Their politics are dopey, but their music is great. I encourage their music while telling them lay off policy.

    • #4
    • December 24, 2010, at 6:24 AM PST
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  5. Todd Inactive

    Frosty the snowman is terrible, except when the Cocteau Twins sing it.Their cover of frosty is a truly remarkable transformation. Here is the link.

    My least favorite song is Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

    • #5
    • December 24, 2010, at 7:25 AM PST
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  6. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Lucy Pevensie: For utter maudlin horror, I think the worst is “The Christmas Shoes.” It was played absolutely everywhere you went in Wisconsin one year. I thought it might be a geographic thing, but I have heard it once or twice since we moved. Perhaps, like its heroine, it has died a merciful death. · Dec 24 at 4:51am

    “Christmas Shoes” is an affront to professional songwriters everywhere. And unfortunately, while the song may have died, it spawned a series of books and bad movies. So, in it’s way, it still manages to offend.

    • #6
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:08 AM PST
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  7. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Louie Mungaray: Kudos to James for his sublime take down of Rockin Around the Christmas Tree. Talk about a silly song

    Any church-goers out there will recognize my all time worst: Mary Did You Know. I won’t link to it, that would be cruel.

    Suffice to say it is execrable, maudlin, and invariable accompanied by bad interpretive dancing.

    I’m a liturgy loving Presbyterian, so I am really cool with the Advent, but that song is misery to me. · Dec 23 at 10:02pm

    Edited on Dec 23 at 10:08 pm

    Louie – Think what you will of the song, but it’s unfair to blame the song for being a magnet for bad dancing. And for the record, by definition, all liturgical dancing is bad dancing.

    • #7
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:15 AM PST
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  8. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Yeah, let’s beat this horse some more.

    Did Ya know Ringo recorded Christmas music? Neither did I, but it’s got to be up there too.

    • #8
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:24 AM PST
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  9. Peter Christofferson Inactive
    Tommy De Seno: “I do find it odd when conservatives are afraid to enjoy the music of a liberal like Lennon (who we now know wasn’t so liberal) or Bruce. Their politics are dopey, but their music is great. I encourage their music while telling them lay off policy.”

    Sorry, I won’t own that one. My dislike of Lennon’s music, or anyone else’s for that matter, has nothing whatever to do with his politics. Heck, you couldn’t be a conservative and participate in about ninety percent of popular culture if you let politics be the last word on everything. And I don’t know a single conservative who would disagree that “More Peace, Less War” is a good idea.

    I despise songs like “Imagine” and the McCartney Christmas thing because they are in my opinion bad music. Period. I’m never “afraid” to like good music, nor am I ever afraid to dislike bad music — or bad writing, or bad argumentation, etc. — never mind the politics of the person who created it.

    • #9
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:26 AM PST
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  10. Patrick Shanahan Inactive

    Fascinating. I was just moaning to my wide about the uttter idiocay of Frosty. It’s stupid, cheesy, boring, and devoid of any Christmas (or Christmassy) message. I say burn the tapes.

    As for Sir Paul, he has always had a knack for producing insipid lyrics in puruist of a quick pound. 35 years ago, my brother David and I had a letter published in the English music rag Melody Maker, protesting the amazng stupidity of McCartney’s Junior’s Farm (which was then a hit).

    John Lennon’s Merry Christmas (The War is Over) is also foolsih, and offensive from a certain perspective, but it is rescued by a melody that is haunting and very Christmassy. it is a keeper.

    McCartney’s piece of rubbish should be on the chopping block next to Frosty.

    • #10
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:28 AM PST
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  11. anon_academic Member
    anon_academic Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Since childhood I’ve always hated “Silver Bells,” which seems to last 12 minutes but with only two words

    • #11
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:35 AM PST
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  12. K T Cat Inactive

    I hate The Little Drummer Boy. The idea is so fundamentally stupid as to bend space and time. Mary has just given birth to Jesus and this kid comes into the stable banging on his drum?!? Are you insane?!? If I was Joseph, I would have beaten the kid senseless with a T-square.

    • #12
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:39 AM PST
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  13. Xty Member
    Xty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Honestly, what is a child to make of the lyrics. The insipid sexual undertones, combined with childish vocabulary (mommy, tickle, etc.) make my skin crawl. And the outing of Santa – seriously, what Julian Assange of lyrics came up with this fatuous nonsense.

    • #13
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:44 AM PST
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  14. Peter Christofferson Inactive

    The McCartney thing is truly awful. Running neck-and-neck with it is that godawful “Do They Know It’s Christmas” piece of tripe that was supposed to raise a bunch of money and end hunger or something. Hard to believe it’s still played any more, but it is.

    As for traditional Christmas songs, I don’t need to hear the Little Drummer Boy pa-rum-pa-pum-pumming all over the place.

    • #14
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:45 AM PST
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  15. Xty Member
    Xty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And look at the demented look on Frosty’s face – would you let your children follow this lecherous drunk downtown?

    • #15
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:46 AM PST
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  16. Xty Member
    Xty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    On the plus side, at least he is smoking.

    • #16
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:47 AM PST
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  17. Kervinlee Member
    Kervinlee Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That McCartney number is one awful song, all right. Now, Pearl Bailey’s Five Pound Box of Money – that’s a Christmas song!

    • #17
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:52 AM PST
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  18. Peter Christofferson Inactive

    And Rob, I get what you mean about Frosty, but you have to admit, this is pretty rockin’.

    • #18
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:54 AM PST
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  19. bernai Member
    bernai Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Listening to the podcast last night I burst into laughter upon Rob’s mini rant. It was an instant classic…the pepsi comment will live in my mind a long time. Right up there with Jonah Goldberg referring to Charlie Crist as a human toothache. As for my most hated it has to be McCartney. It is one of those evil tunes that immediately imbeds itself into your conscious and cannot be exorcised except for a liberal application of Merlot.

    • #19
    • December 24, 2010, at 8:56 AM PST
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  20. Profile Photo Member

    The fundamental problem with all Christmas songs written since the 19th Century is that they were written for money, not for art or devotion.

    A popular Christmas song is a cash cow that never dies, so art has nothing to do with it – it’s all in the hook. A thoroughly cynical exercise.

    • #20
    • December 24, 2010, at 9:26 AM PST
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  21. Deleted Account Inactive

    I never minded the Frosty song, as it was fun to sing with the kids, and the Gene Autry version always stuck in my head….

    For truly horrific, I just think back to the Worst Elementary School Pageant Ever. It happened at the height of the political correctness era here – around ’97 or ’98. The pageant had already overrun it’s usual hour and a half by at least an hour so every class of every grade could demonstrate its special vocal qualities on specially adapted carols guaranteed to pass all tests of Canadian multi-culturalist conformity, and was dilating time like only the first Pokemon movie had done before. The Grade 6’s finally finished; parents and grandparents started shuffling about to get their coats, but the auditorium was still dimmed. And then what to our wondering eyes should appear but the entire school flocking in, shepherded by the somewhat psychotic gym teacher who had arranged this purgatory; all holding little battery powered candles, and singing John Lennon’s Imagine.

    • #21
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:09 AM PST
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  22. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    anon_academic: Since childhood I’ve always hated “Silver Bells,” which seems to last 12 minutes but with only two words · Dec 23 at 7:35pm

    Ooh! Thanks for reminding me how much I hate this song, too!

    I especially hate how it’s apparently taboo for recording artists to actually hit the notes of the refrain on key instead of swooping up to them — so the refrain ends up sounding like this:

    “Suhwwwilllver buhwellls…”

    Also, the song is a lie. You don’t hear silver bells on every street corner in the city. The city street lights do not blink a bright red and green.

    And if the stoplights were frenetically blinking from red to green, instead of sedately changing as they ought, what would you get but traffic jams and accidents? Merry Christmas indeed!

    Thank you.

    • #22
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:13 AM PST
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  23. James Lileks Contributor

    I share Rob’s Frostyphobia, but partly for the show itself: witless cheap animation from Rankin-Bass. The artist who did the designs – a Mad Magazine illustrator named Paul Coker – had a fine distinct style, but it was lost in the shoddy execution. The narrator? The priceless Durante, in his last role. Santa? Paul Frees, one of the most distinctive voices of his time, still living on in the narration of Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. Lots of talent, but it was all swamped by the stupidity of the foundational concept of a snow sculpture brought to life by haberdasher-based necromancy.

    Love this note from imdb:

    Continuity: When Frosty attempts to count to 10, he starts counting to 5 on his fingers, and he has 5 fingers on one hand and 4 on the other. Then after he finishes counting, both hands have 4.

    Yeah, mistakes like that really make it hard to suspend disbelief.

    Another nominee:

    • #23
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:26 AM PST
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  24. Profile Photo Member

    I never trusted Frosty. I always suspected his whole jovial shtick was a ruse to gain access to young children.

    I shudder to think what’s buried in his basement: he’s the John Wayne Gacy of Christmas characters.

    • #24
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:27 AM PST
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  25. Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Coolidge
    Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    For me it has to be the Chipmunks. It comes on the car radio and I start scanning the road ahead of me for potential road kill. And anything by John Lennon. I start scanning for pedestrians with those prissy little glasses. There seem to be fewer of them now.

    Time for my medication. Later!

    • #25
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:27 AM PST
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  26. Stuart Creque Member
    Stuart Creque Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    James Lileks: Lots of talent, but it was all swamped by the stupidity of the foundational concept of a snow sculpture brought to life by haberdasher-based necromancy. · Dec 23 at 9:26pm

    I know, right? Because we all know that snowmen — or scarecrows — cannot take on a life of their own but must be inhabited by a disembodied human spirit, preferably one that lost its corporeal form due to a ritual of human sacrifice.

    I kept waiting for Frosty 2: The Reaping (aka Scarlet Snow), but alas….

    • #26
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:33 AM PST
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  27. Diane Ellis Contributor

    Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” is one of the reasons I’ve avoided a mall this entire month.

    • #27
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:36 AM PST
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  28. Stuart Creque Member
    Stuart Creque Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Does it make it better or worse that some genius in the CBS web promotions department decided to dub dialogue from How I Met Your Mother over a Frosty the Snowman promo?

    • #28
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:38 AM PST
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  29. Profile Photo Member
    Sisyphus: For me it has to be the Chipmunks. It comes on the car radio and I start scanning the road ahead of me for potential road kill. And anything by John Lennon. I start scanning for pedestrians with those prissy little glasses. There seem to be fewer of them now.

    Time for my medication. Later! · Dec 23 at 9:27pm

    Edited on Dec 23 at 09:28 pm

    I once took a job as Director of Store Operations for a multi-state department store company. About a month after I started, my assistants came to me with a Muzak menu of Christmas music options for our stores.

    I was way too busy to care about it, so I just looked up at them and said, “All Chipmunks all of the time.”

    • #29
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:39 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Squishy Blue RINO Inactive
    Joe Escalante

    The worst Christmas song in the world is “If Every Day Could Be Christmas” by 98 Degrees. I defy anyone to come up with something worse thanthis pile. · Dec 23 at 10:40pm

    Wow, that was evil. Boy band and bad Christmas music all at once. How about that poor kid sporting lipstick and a mohawk?

    • #30
    • December 24, 2010, at 10:47 AM PST
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