I’ve spent a lot of time this year talking about Christmas music. Why not? Christmas music is fun to sing, fun to listen to, and even fun to talk about. However, there are a few Christmas songs that I’m kinda tired of hearing year after year after year. Some of them have just not aged well, some of these songs are annoying, and some of these songs have not stayed in step with society. These are the songs I’m officially inditing into my Holiday Hall of Shame.
So here we are. Here we pay a sort of homage to these songs that, for whatever, just don’t work in 2018. Ok – in some cases, we’re not going to pay homage, but rather rip these songs limb from limb. Yeah, yeah – I know – Audioperfecta has a policy on snark – but this time I’ll make an exception. Oooo, this is going to be fun!
Little Saint Nick – Beach Boys (1964)
Beach Boys fans can be divided in two groups: those who support Mike Love’s “Let’s go with a formula that works” attitude, and those that support Brian Wilson’s more creative approach. While I lean towards Wilson’s side more than Love’s, that doesn’t mean that everything Wilson writes is a gem, “Little Saint Nick” is certainly an example of a dud of a Wilson song.
Seriously – “Little Saint Nick” annoys me so much, I could swear that Love wrote the entire damned song (I mean – he did get a writing credit for this song because of his crybaby lawsuit). Seriously, “Little Saint Nick is such a formulaic piece of reindeer poo! Sure – it’s catchy – that’s part of the formulaic sound of the song. But those lyrics….”Christmastime comes each time this year.” Whoa….what a profound statement! (not). And why is the Saint Nick so “little?” Every other depiction of a USA Saint Nick is – well – not little. The actual title phrase doesn’t even make sense.
For it’s formulaic sound, and stupid lyrics – “Little Saint Nick” earns its spot in the Audioperfecta Holiday Hall of Shame.
The Christmas Song – Alvin and the Chipmunks (1958)
I will say this about David Seville (or rather Ross Bagdasarian) – he had a creative idea. Sing three parts in harmony, and speed them up so it sounds like they’re sung by rodents. Once more – Seville gives each rodent a distinct personality. Pretty brilliant.
BUT IT GETS OLD! FAST!
Seriously – once or twice – hey, that’s pretty clever, but we hear it again. And again. And again…..for all freaking eternity! You would think after Badasarian died, that would be the end of it. Right? But no….every new generation gets a new version of the Chipmunks, including a new version of the bloody Christmas Song. God help us all!
For its refusal to die a dignified death, and for its general annoying nature, “The Christmas Song” earns its spot on the AudioPerfecta Holiday Hall of Shame.
Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire – Bob Rivers (2000)
I’m not the only person to hate The Chipmunks. Satirist Bob Rivers recorded a song pretty much laying out the same grievances I have about the damned song. If that were not enough, Rivers also wrote a follow up song where Seville finally gets his revenge, with the help of a fictionalized version of Nat King Cole.
Ok – let’s get this straight – Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire is funny as hell. Seriously, I could listen to it over, and over, and over. There’s a certain poetic justice to the vision of Alvin getting a hot skewer up his nose. There’s just one problem: the portrayal of Nat King Cole is incredibly racist.
The song has a few parts where the fictional Seville and fictional Nat King Cole talk, and this is where we find the racism. Rivers portrays Cole as though he were a performer in a minstrel show. Cole talks in poor English, saying things like “You best be havin’ two of them drumsticks cause they oh so tiny and there ain’t much meat upon them.”
Not cool, Mr Rivers. Not cool at all. Mr. Rivers can’t even claim “it was funny at the time,” because he wrote this song in the 90s! It’s too bad he had to taint such an amazing parody with unnecessary racism. Seriously – the racism doesn’t even add anything to the song. Delete these lines, and the song is just as funny – maybe even moreso.
For its racism, “Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire” earns its spot on the AudioPerfecta Holiday Hall of Shame.
Christmas Shoes – Newsong (2006)
This song offends me so much that I can’t even get through it – not even once. We have a story of a little kid, who wants to buy his mom a pair of shoes for Christmas. The singer pitches in for the shoes when it turns out the kid doesn’t have enough money. Pretty cute, huh? Well it’s anything but cute!
The kid’s mom is dying. Like on her actual deathbed. His dad tells him to hurry because his mom will die THAT NIGHT! So instead of spending time with his dying mom, who would love to see her son in the last moments of life – he chooses to go buy her a Christmas gift.
Sure – I can’t blame the kid – he probably doesn’t understand. He just knows that his mom made sure he had a nice Christmas every other year, and wanted to return the favor. But the adults in the song shouldn’t have let him! What’s a kid that age doing out by himself anyways? And while we’re at it – the mom does not care about wearing a brand new, uncomfortable pair of shoes while she’s dying. She’s probably already uncomfortable as it is! But no – let the kid go buy a pair of shoes for a woman already suffering. Sure….that’s a smart choice there, Einstein.
I will say that “Christmas Shoes” might be a little more heartwarming if it were a true story – but it’s not! “Christmas Shoes” is a totally fictitious story. Why would they make this up? Seriously? What were you thinking Newsong? What the heck were you thinking?
For its utter self serving stupidity and offensiveness, as well as its abuse of pathos, “Christmas Shoes has not only earned its place on the Audioperfecta Holiday Hall of Shame, but earned the prime spot at the head of the table. Seriously – most offensive song ever! It’s more offensive than that one South Park song (don’t click that link).
R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Meco (1980)
If there’s one redeeming quality of “R2D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” it’s that the song launched Jon Bon Jovi’s career. Seriously – he’s the lead vocalist! I have a saying – There are two types of people, those who like Jon Bon Jovi, and those that are wrong. But I digress.
If there ever was a nonsensical cash grab of a song, R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas is it. Credited to Meco, who also did a disco cover of the Star Wars theme. Really – the song sounds like nothing more than someone saying “Hey, I did so well on that Star Wars thing, maybe I can replicate my success.”
I’l give you that the song is fun – but still…asking R2D2 to slide down the chimney like Santa Claus? Wow…that took some imagination.
For its blatant capitalization of the Star Wars Saga, R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas has earned its place in the AudioPerfecta Holiday of Shame.
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt Et al. (1953)
Ok, I know this song is just a bunch of hyperbolic greed – but still. Santa Baby really does go over the rail. The singer wants a deed to a freaking platinum mine for heck’s sake! Wow. Just wow. Other thing’s she asks for: a 54 Convertible, Tiffany branded Christmas Decorations, a yacht (which she says isn’t a lot), and even checks signed by Santa. Yes – she even wants Santa’s money! Wow. How greedy. How rude….how materialistic!
If this song isn’t bad enough, both Madonna and Ariana Grande have done covers of “Santa Baby.” Let’s also not forget Miss Piggy! Talk about the trifecta of self-absorbed, egotistical performers. Yeah sure, Miss Piggy is a parody, but still…
For its unapologetic greed, Santa Baby has earned its place in the AudioPerfecta Holiday of Shame.
Honorable Mention: Baby It’s Cold Outside – Various Artists (1944)
Ok – so we’ve all been talking about “Baby It’s Cold Outside” till we’re blue in the face. Some say the song is all about date rape, others say this song is about female empowerment. I say – I don’t really know!
One fact: we’re looking at “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from a 2018 point of view. We’re looking at the song from a world where we focus so much on shedding light on sexual abuse. The world of 2018 is a world where one of the most beloved TV dads of the 1980s has been revealed to be a freaking serial rapist. Given this fact, I’m not sure we can look at the song objectively.
One thing to note about the song, the woman doesn’t seem so objective to spending the night – but is more concerned about what others might say about her. On the other hand, the woman is still making objections, and the man in the song doesn’t seem to be respecting those objections. Still, maybe that’s just the game they played in the 1940s….maybe the woman is looking for an excuse to give to her aunt, mom or dad. Or maybe the guy is just a creep.
In the end – I feel like we’re asking the wrong questions here. We’re asking the question of intent of the songwriter, when we should be asking what does the song mean to us. Baby It’s cold outside may or may not have been innocent in the 1940s, but considering the implications of the #metoo movement – maybe we should consider the song to be, at least in this time in history, a song about date rape.
This is why I give this song an honorable mention in the Holiday Hall of Shame. We’re asking about intent, instead of just interpreting the bloody song ourselves.
If you don’t agree with me – that’s your choice. Heck – I still enjoy the song myself, but I’m also thinking about those that can’t enjoy the song. I actually took a version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” off my “Fun but annoying Christmas songs” playlist because of what I write in this article.
So – if you feel like you can still enjoy this song – please be considerate of others. Don’t play the song at parties, and don’t blast it from your car stereo. After all – playing a song that others get offended by, really is not spreading peace on Earth and good will towards mankind?
For it’s controversial nature, which may or may not be unfounded, and for the fact that our interpretations of this song do not gel so well with the current climate of 2018, “Baby Its Cold Outside” gets a spot in the honorable mentions of the Holiday Hall of Shame.
Out of respect for those who do not want to hear it – I’m not providing a link to this song.
Are there any additions to the Holiday Hall of Shame?
I’ll admit – I had fun writing this piece. Snarking against beloved holiday songs feels kind of therapeutic. I might just have to do this again next year, the Holiday Hall of Shame 2019 edition! On that note – are there songs I missed that need to be on this list? Comment below and let me know!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I leave you with the infamous Steve Mauldin version of “O Holy Night.” Surely this will make it into next year’s Holiday Hall of Shame.