I was never a fan of holiday music. Only when I started listening to Bob’s “Thanks for Xmas” CDs did I become a fan of the Motown greats like Marshmallow World and Beach Boys tunes. But there are still some songs that make me want to stick a knitting needle into my ears.
1. Carol of the Bells is not so much annoying as it is maddening. It makes you want to drive off of the road as it works up into an operatic fury, “Come hear the bells, sweet silver bells, hear the bells, the bells, the bells, the bellsssssss agagghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!” It was between the Muppets and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Trust me. I did you a favor.
2. Jingle Bells is a no-brainer. This infamous earworm is on the list of the most annoying songs, period. Its irritation level increases when people add the extra bits, “Laughing all the way (Ho! Ho! Ho!)”
3. Should I just add every song with the word “bell” in it? Jingle Bell Rock is almost as cloying as the original songs it is supposed to be cooler than. The worst part is that it is so close, like they almost got there and then screwed it all up.
4. Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Christmas Time is Here. It is a perfectly good song, but the sped-up cassette voices ruin it. The hula hoop line could be so adorable. And the laughing creeps me out. Maybe I thought this was cute when I was little. I don’t remember. I have buried the memory and will have to recover it shaking and weeping in therapy.
5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Hmm. Stalk much, Santa? Talk about creepy! He sees me when I’m sleeping? I can just imagine him up there with his gin blossom nose, keeping his obsessive little lists. You better not pout, you better not cry, or I swear I’m gonna cut you. At least the Jackson 5 version has some groove to it, even if the kids knew they better not cry …or hit a sour note.
6. Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a beautiful song, but if you listen to the lyrics, it’s kind of like the Christmas date rape anthem. “I really can’t stay…What’s in this drink?” I do appreciate this version from Glee, where the “catch” is being coy and flirtatious, not lulled into a dizzy stupor.
7. Nothing grates on my nerves more than Here Comes Santa Claus. Its frenetic pace makes my fillings ache. Even Gene Autry’s silken voice can’t help (even though I like that he says Santy Claus). Nor can Doris Day’s dulcet tones avoid the trap of that rhythm. Now stop hitting your sister and bring mama her nervous pills.
8. The Twelve Days of Christmas is the most repetitious song ever. What was this song even about? None of us had ever seen a partridge in our entire lives or a pear tree, much less any lords a-leaping. And no one wants any of those gifts except for the five gold rings. Plus, no one can ever remember them all, so sing-alongs deteriorate into embarrassing tongue twisters. It’s too many days. Even Hannukah only has 8.
9. Do they know it’s Christmas is not only a group fundraising anthem, which guarantees badness, but it is rife with xenophobia. Who are you to force your Christian views on the entire third world? Maybe they don’t know it’s Christmas because they are Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus. Maybe they don’t even know who Jesus was. Does that make your self-righteous pucker tighten up a bit? Anyways, stop trying to give me a guilt complex. My family will take care of that quite nicely without any help from the likes of you.
10. Deck the Halls is another exercise in endless repetition and forced joviality. As you hit the end and the carolers tire, the half-hearted, fa la la la la la la la las start to border on the despondent.