The worst Christmas songs ever

Today I heard what might be the worst Christmas song of all time (see #2 below). It got me thinking about what criteria make a Christmas (or holiday) song “good” or “bad.”

Let’s start with the bad.

1. Christmas albums are perennial money-makers. Thus every single pop star is going to record one. But asking us to cross from the pop star persona to the spiritual persona is usually a bridge too far. Example: Christina Aguilera. She promotes herself as a sexy, edgy pop star. Then suddenly we’re supposed to get all reverent and goosebumpy because she’s singing O Holy Night? Pass. Thank you! My next number will be Genie In A Bottle.

2. Who decides what makes a Christmas song? If you read my last post, you know that it drives me up a wall that someone decided that My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music is a Christmas song. Why? Because they talk about silvery white winters, or brown-paper packages tied up with string? None of that sounds holiday to me. But what makes it the worst holiday song ever? Hearing Rod Stewart sing it. That’s right. Rod Do Ya Think I’m Sexy Stewart.

3. Maudlin, overly sentimental emotion. Yeah, we all want to “feel” something from a good song. But The Christmas Shoes is so cloying that I find myself yelling at the radio. Get her a pair of warm socks! Dammit, she’s just gonna die anyway! Why are you out shopping when you should be sitting at her bedside? Get off my lawn! 

4. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. As in, we couldn’t come up with any lyrics, so we’re just gonna repeat what we already got. Why should we put any effort into it? People will buy it anyway! Examples: Feliz Navidad. Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime. Carol of the Bells. That last one is particularly awful to sing. All of these songs get stuck in your head, on endless repeat. It’s enough to make you welcome The Candy Man just to break the cycle.

5. Egos. Yeah, I’m a big rock star, so I can pretty much sing anything and it will be meaningful! And a platinum-seller. Example: Do They Know It’s Christmastime (Feed the World). Justin Bieber. Sting.

6. Misguided attempts at humor. These are funny maybe once. Then you’re embarrassed you ever laughed. Example: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth. Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song. These are the musical equivalent of fanny packs. Shudder.

What are your nominees for the worst Christmas songs?

Stay tuned for what makes a good Christmas song.

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