I’ve noticed that the Christmas commercialization is in full swing: decorations are up, music is starting to play in the stores…if only in short increments, and TV ads with Christmas themes are already on the air (I even saw a commercial that never mentioned Christmas; it was simply set in a neighborhood covered in snow and decorated for Christmas!).
Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas, and even though I think the first week of November is a bit too early to start, I’ll probably be ready for it in a couple of weeks. Until then, here’s my first foray into the holidays; I’d love to share five examples of bad Christmas music, songs and artists that exemplify everything that’s wrong with the music of the season. Some people may call me a Scrooge for my choices, but in a few weeks I’ll share my favorite Christmas music. Here goes…
5. Harry Simeone Chorale, “The Little Drummer Boy” In the interest of full disclosure, I have a history with this song. The first song I ever performed on stage at age seven was, you guessed it, “The Little Drummer Boy.” In the past few years, I’ve finally been able to get away from hearing, “I remember when you were this tall (place hand about waist-high) singing ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ at Covington Christian,” and it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to listen to the song without cringing. Except this version. The shrill melody and harmony and the male vocals endlessly droning “rum, rum, rum, rum” make this, the original version of the song make, a joy killer for me.
4. Anything by Mannheim Steamroller I’m sure I’ve ticked somebody off with this choice, but I just can’t stand this electro-cheese from the 80’s. Nothing these guys do works for me; it’s all hideous. The YouTube clip I linked to here (the video may be worse than the song, but not by much) had a comment on it to the effect of “this music sounds like it was made by a bunch of computer nerds.” My sentiments exactly.
3. Porky Pig, “Blue Christmas” Elvis’ hit “Blue Christmas” was a classic slice of early rock & roll Christmas music, and then some fool decided to do a parody. The Porky Pig version, which was unofficial by the way, is a joke that works for about ten seconds…or less…but it drags on for two minutes. Dreadful.
2. John Denver, “Please Daddy(Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)” John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas is a beautiful album, with a mix of traditional Christmas songs and lovely and reverent originals. And then there’s this. I can’t decide if it’s so funny it’s sad or if it’s so sad it’s funny. Either way, it’s terrible. My parents used to have a record of this album, and my mom refused to listen this song. It was after I got the CD a few years ago that I was able to appreciate the cheesiness.
1. Dr. Elmo, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” The worst Christmas song, hands down. Words can’t describe how lame this piece of garbage is…well, polite words can’t. Poorly sung, poorly produced, and sorely overused, this song and it’s accompanying video became an MTV staple in December back when MTV showed videos; need I say more? In researching for this blog entry, I found out that Dr. Elmo and his wife were actually the targets of protest at their shows by the Gray Panthers for their “ageist” music. No kidding…you can’t make stuff like this up.
If I sound cynical on this post, it’s because this hideous music makes one that way. Don’t worry; I’ll post happy stuff soon. Seriously.