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Shelby’s 10 Worst Christmas Songs #6: Oh My God, My Ears–MY EARS!!! Edition

In a rare double-header, two Christmas songs come in to represent #6. Neither are good songs, but the final nail in their collective coffin is the ear-shattering aspect. These two songs make me want to shove my fingers in my ears, which is dangerous because I listen to radio Christmas music when I’m driving. But here they are:

#6 The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) -and- I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas (by Gayla Peevey)

Ear protection is advised…

Alllllvvvvviiiiinnnnn!!!!!

Now first let me fully disclose that I was an Alvin and the Chipmunks fan as a youth. Not the current Alvin with his weird computer-generated body and hip-hop songs, but the original. I thought the song was funny. The constant “Me, I want a hula hoop” was giggle worthy. Now I’m like GIVE THE KID A DAMNED HULA HOOP! HOW MUCH CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE? LIKE $20 AT WAL-MART???

Now much in the same way that the Singing Dogs changed recording history, so did the chipmunks. In fact, the chipmunks won three grammy awards in 1958: Best Comedy Performance (remember, they were probably still recovering from the Singing Dogs), Best Children’s Recording, which definitively showed how valued children’s recordings were in 1958. And also a Best Engineered Record, which I think is one of those awards you give away the day before so you don’t gum up the telecast with boring thank-yous and such, or at least make an attempt.

Anyway, unlike the Singing Dog, it did not have an actual renaissance. It has simply been a stowaway on other more legitimate Christmas albums and then then those get played, the Chipmunks come too. And the amount of effort it would take to remove this song from our collective lexicon is not greater than the inertia of the people with the power to do it. And so we are stuck with a plane that loops the loop.

AND THE STUPID HULA HOOP!

And to fully disclose, I have to admit that I have a son named Theodore, and an internet friend of mine has a son named Simon, and if we ever find an Alvin there will be cause to meet up in joyous celebration. But we will still not be playing that song.

And as for the hippopotamuses…

People often fondly look back on the 50s era as a time of wonderful music. What they don’t realize is that the same time era was producing the Singing Dogs, the Chipmunks, and something found in the Jungle Cruise.

This is sad.

I really don’t have a lot to say about Hippopotamus other than that the ear-screeching quality makes me wonder if I tilt my head, will blood come running out of my ear? The song does get better in the middle, if you still have any kind of hearing quality left, but the screeching starts up at the end. There are few songs that make me immediately shut the radio off, and this is one of them.

However, if you have a sardonic, quirky sense of humor like I do, you might want to review the plight of the animatronic hippos of Disneyland.

Shelby’s 10 Worst Christmas Songs: #7

The award goes to…

#7 Last Christmas (Wham!)

First I have to say that I almost didn’t include this because of the sheer awesomeness of the video. I mean, the video encompasses everything that the 80s had to offer hair. The mullets are top-notch, especially George Michael’s, and the bangs and perms on the ladies are classic. There’s even a woman sporting a David Bowie ‘do!

(sorry for the ad there)

But in the end, the song did make the cut because it’s so frequently played on the radio.

Now let’s deconstruct this. The chorus goes:

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Okay, I guess I can get onboard with that, although if it’s been a year, it’s kind of well beyond time to get over it.

Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye

Nothing I love more than a good cliche.

Tell me baby, do you recognize me?
Well, it’s been a year, that doesn’t surprise me

Here’s where we start getting problematic. So you gave her your heart (whatever that means) and a year later she doesn’t recognize you?  Are you, like, some creepy stalker guy or something?

Whispered: Merry Christmas
I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying, “I love you,” I meant it

Well we know you did not literally wrap your heart up and send it (with a note), so what exactly is “it”? What, did you go all Vincent Van Gogh on her?

Now I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kiss me now
I know you’ll fool me again

Okay. Dude. She either doesn’t remember you or she wants you to think she doesn’t remember you (see above). Neither one of these is going to result in a kiss, so I think you’re pretty safe here.

A crowded room, friends with tired eyes
I’m hiding from you and your soul of ice

Oh SNAP!

My God I thought you were
Someone to rely on
Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on

Okay, so you’re the shoulder to cry on. So this breakup thing–was it along the lines of “It’s not you, it’s me” or was it “I love you like a brother”?  And if you were some kind of shoulder to cry on, why doesn’t she remember you? Did she sustain a head injury that resulted in amnesia or something?

A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man undercover but you tore me apart

Very poetic, but I’m not quite following you here.

Now I’ve found a real love you’ll never fool me again

Whoa whoa WHOA, buddy. You’ve found a real love, so you’re going out with someone else? I mean okay, but does she know you’re still carrying a torch for this other girl? Plus “you’ll never fool me again”??? One chorus ago you were lamenting that if she kissed you now then you WOULD be fooled again. Talk about wishy-washy–I’m kind of seeing why she dumped your butt last Christmas.

And then there’s a couple more choruses, the poetic lines, and the thing about next year I’ll give it to someone special. Let me just put this plainly–have you considered counseling? Because the relationship described in the song is not a healthy one. Pining for a year over someone who was your girlfriend for a day? Not that I don’t empathize with getting dumped the day after Christmas when everyone’s hitting the mall for the 1/2 off sales, but seriously. Get a grip.

Although the tune is quintessentially 80s, I’m going to have to put this baby at #7.

PS. George Michael, I think you’re going to have better luck with the dudes next year.

Shelby’s 10 Worst Christmas Songs: #8–Spanish Edition

#8: Feliz Navidad

Now let me start out by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Feliz Navidad. It’s a decent song. Here’s your obligatory video, although I will warn you that Jose Feliciano is not looking too great here.

 

Yeah, I’m thinking the years haven’t been as kind as they could be.

But anyway, I don’t hate the song. What I hate is the fact that it has become the sole representation of the entire Spanish language at Christmas. It’s like whenever someone playing Christmas music decides they want to be multi-cultural, they pull out Feliz Navidad (and then pat themselves on the back for including a song in another language!) (not counting German). Never mind that there are more words in English than in Spanish. Or that it’s mind-numbingly repetitive (and this is coming from the person who doesn’t mind It’s A Small World). Nope, when it comes to Christmas Diversity, you’re talking Feliz Navidad.

There are millions of people in this world who speak Spanish. They come from hundreds of national, regional, and cultural backgrounds. Most of them celebrate Christmas. And yet the ONLY song we can come up with to represent ALL Spanish-speakers is Feliz Navidad??? SURELY somewhere among these vibrant and rich cultures, there’s a traditional song we can add to our holiday repertoire and give Feliz Navidad a well-earned retirement.

Look, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart just as much as the next guy, but it wouldn’t kill us to branch out a little.

(“Mamacita, Donde Esta Santa Claus” doesn’t count)

Shelby’s 10 Worst Christmas Songs: #9

#9. Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs

Okay, so this gimmick song was kind of cute and maybe kind of funny the first time you heard it, but hundreds of play hours later, it’s neither cute nor funny. I did a little research to see how the singing dogs came about and was shocked to find out that it was recorded in 1955. NINETEEN FIFTY-FIVE, PEOPLE!!! Apparently it achieved a renaissance when it was re-released in 1971, and, for some godawful reason, has been around ever since.

I picked that particular video because of the fine looking hounds in the picture, which is its single redeeming quality. We’re real hound lovers here.

Anyway, there’s a very interesting article about the Singing Dogs in The Atlantic, and the fact that these stupid barking dogs get their own article in The Atlantic is a bit disturbing to me. Apparently the Singing Dogs represented some kind of massive breakthrough in recording technology. Which is fine, I guess, except if you’re going to come up with a massive breakthrough, why on earth would you make that breakthrough via a Christmas song sung by dogs? Because if that were me, I’d like to have a little something more–sophisticated and less annoying as my legacy.

And according to the Atlantic article, two different polls came up with the Singing Dogs as #1 most hated Christmas song in 2007. So why do people keep playing it? WHY??? It’s like when you’re at the family Christmas dinner and that creepy uncle, who thinks he has a good sense of humor but really doesn’t, has too much to drink and decides he’s going to crack everyone up by playing the funniest Christmas song ever recorded (“you HAVE to hear this one!!”), the singing dogs, completely forgetting that 1) he gets drunk and does this every year, and 2) it’s not a funny song.

I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of cat version out there too, but if you know the names or locations of such songs, please don’t link them. I’ve only got 8 more slots to fill on my 10 Worst, and I don’t want animals to dominate the competition. Thanks.

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