Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Song Blog Part 2: Songs I Never Get Tired Of

 So now that the songs I hate have been playing in my head for a few days, it's time to replace them with a list of the Christmas songs I really love. The ones I never get tired of hearing, usually because they don't get played once an hour LIKE THAT FRAKKING DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS, IF I HEAR THAT ONE MORE TIME....
 Sorry. Chocolate break. Better now.
 Here's the list of favorites, in no particular order, with my reasoning for their awesomeness. Check them out, maybe you'll find a new favorite too.

 "Welcome Christmas" - the Who song from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." (The cartoon, not the Jim Carrey monstrosity.) A sweet song of beautiful harmonies and a Christmassy message. Check out the Glee version from last year's Christmas episode, they do a great arrangement.

 Also from "Grinch" - "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch." How could anyone not love a song with lyrics like "Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk Mr. Grinch." Plus, it's sung by Thurl Ravenscroft,  who was also the voice of Tony the Tiger.

"What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)" - off the Star Wars Christmas album "Christmas In the Stars" - not to be confused with the Star Wars Holiday Special. The whole album is cheesy Star Wars goodness, but this is the best track, in my opinion. The album is also notable for lead vocals on several songs by a teenaged Jon Bon Jovi. (He's really, really bad.)

"The 12 Days of Christmas" by Straight No Chaser. The one exception to the "nobody should ever sing this song" rule. It's funny, it's short, and the last verse is to the tune of "Africa" by Toto. If you've never seen the video, look it up on You Tube, it's fantastic.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings" by The Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan. A jazzy, bouncy arrangement with wonderful harmonies. Impossible not to dance around like a lunatic when you hear it (unless, of course, you're in the car.)

"Carol of the Bells" by Mr. Mackey from the South Park Christmas album. This whole album is gold (as long as you're not easily offended) but I picked this one because a) I love any version of "Carol of the Bells" and b) it's the only song on the album you can listen to with kids in the car/room.

"Christmastime Is Here" from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Instant nostalgia - nothing takes you back to childhood like A Charlie Brown Christmas. For something a bit different, check out Afro Blue's super-jazzy a cappella arrangement.

"Snoopy's Christmas" by The Royal Guardsmen. A strange little song from 1967 about Snoopy and the Red Baron and a World War I Christmas truce. I first heard this song as a child in the '70s, and it just mesmerized me. It gets very little radio play, which is too bad, because I could listen to it over and over.

Honorable mention: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" - a controversial pick, since I know there is VIOLENT hatred for this song. I think it's hilarious. I first heard it in junior high, and it still appeals to that junior high sense of humor buried deep down. I can't say I NEVER get tired of it, but I can handle about four or five repetitions through December. But only if I'm somewhere I can sing along at the top of my lungs.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Song Blog, Part 1: Songs I Never Want to Hear Again

 So, I wasn't planning to blog again until the New Year, because one less thing to stress about over the holidays seemed like a good idea. But this has been in my head shrieking to get out for about a week, so I'm finally giving in.

I love Christmas songs. I love to sing them, play them on the piano, listen to them on the radio (thank you Star 104.5 for not going to all-Christmas programming until Thanksgiving week, by the way. Nov. 1 was just too early.) And there are songs I adore, songs I like, songs I don't care about much one way or the other...and then there are those other songs. The ones that get played over and over, that grate on you like fingernails on a chalkboard, and that if you hear ONE more time you're going to commit hari-kari with a sharpened candy cane...

So here's my list of Christmas songs I NEVER want to hear again, in no particular order:

"The Christmas Shoes" - About a kid buying shoes for his dying mother
sample lyric: And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

I HATE this song. I know it's supposed to be heartwarming, and remind us of the true meaning of Christmas, but it's depressing as hell. If I'm in a happy Christmas mood and hear it at the mall, it never fails to bum me out.

"Same Old Lang Syne" - about a guy who runs into his ex on Christmas Eve
sample lyric: "We bought a six pack at the liquor store, and we drank it in her car."
Drinking and driving, how festive. Just because it mentions Christmas does not make it a Christmas song. I don't want to hear about these people's relationship issues, I have Facebook for that, but the tune is so catchy I can't get it out of my head.

"Santa Baby" - a greedy mistress trying to squeeze expensive gifts out of her Sugar Daddy
sample lyric: "Santa honey, there's one more thing, I really do need the deed to a platinum mine."
Really. That's the lyric. A platinum mine. I hope Santa fills her stocking with dog poo.

"My Favorite Things" - from "The Sound of Music," you know the lyrics.
Who decided this is a Christmas song? Neither the song nor the movie has anything to do with Christmas. You know what this song makes me think of? Nazis. Not my favorite thing.

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" - Band-Aid fundraiser song for Africa
sample lyric: "And the Christmas bells that ring there R the clanging chimes of doom
Well 2night thank God it's them instead of U"
It may not be PC to say so, but I've hated this song since the '80s. It's played waaaay to much, it's dated, the lyrics are mostly horrible...maybe I'm too cynical, but it seems to me this is just a bunch of self-absorbed, self-righteous rockers who recorded a charity song so they could feel good about their extravagant lifetstyles the rest of the year. Is the charity still getting royalities every time this is played or sold? Because that's the only excuse for continuing to hear this song year after year.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" - Everybody knows this one, though nobody knows all the lyrics
No one should sing this. Ever. There's no excuse for it. Just, no. *
(* OK, one exception, which I'll get to tomorrow.)

Dishonorable mention:
"Mistletoe" by Justin Bieber. I've already heard this forgettable pop song too many times. At least it is forgettable, and not likely to stick in my head. Won't still be playing five years from now.
"Shake Up Christmas" by Train. Also played too much. Repetitive, but not too horrible. One of those catchy songs that runs through your head, whether you like it or not. I'm afraid this one will be playing five years from now.

Tomorrow: Part 2, Songs I Can't Get Enough Of
All lyrics copied from