Thursday, December 20, 2007

More Worst Christmas Songs Ever

OK, everyone, you've waited all year long, and finally, my brother Tom is back, doing his Grumpy Old Christmas Man thing and ranting once again about how much he hates certain overplayed Christmas carols. I'll be chiming in via the italics feature here and there, but as always, this is Tom's show. Take it away, Tom!

TOM: Over the past couple of years, many of you have been on the receiving end of my ranting regarding terrible Christmas songs. The majority of my anger has come from Sirius Satellite radio. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Sirius and highly recommend it. However, when Christmas rolls around, they turn their Channel 2 into all Christmas music. Seems great for us gentiles, but then upon further examination, they torture me by playing the stupidest songs ever or repeating holiday favorites over and over until I hate them. I was about to rant about this yet again this year until I discovered something new. Sirius has added 2 more channels of holiday music! One is “Country Music,” so I stay away from that. The other is Channel 86 and is classical Christmas. What a breath of fresh air! I can now go between the 2 stations and be guaranteed of hearing something that won’t make me want to rip my Sirius from the dash and toss it out the window! With that, I have decided to remind people of hazardous Christmas songs, but also sing the praises of some great songs!

The Worst

Okay, first of all, I will try not to repeat any from last year. I have, therefore, retired some of my worst Christmas Songs ever and they are the inaugural class of the Worst Christmas Song Ever Hall of Shame. These songs include: “All I want for Christmas is You” by no-talent Vince Vance and the Valiants, “Christmas Shoes” by New Song, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” by the Eurythmics. The Lifetime Achievement of Crappiness award goes to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

TRACY: Don't forget "Santa, Baby" by Madonna. :::shudder::::

TOM: Now, onto my new crappy songs:

“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney: I have called this one out before, but I didn’t want to retire it yet, because it's such a tragedy. It is just a terrible, terrible song. It almost sounds like something Dana Carvey would have done as Paul McCartney on SNL. I wish that Heather Mills would receive this song as part of the divorce settlement so that it does not have to be associated with Sir Paul anymore.

TRACY: :::snicker::: (That Heather Mills line was genius. High five!) My first pick is Anything by Josh Groban. The whole world seems to love Josh Groban except me, including Oprah who just gave his Christmas CD away during her favorite things episode. For all I know, he may be a very nice boy. And I'm hardly a classical music purist, owning a CD by a duo called the "OperaBabes." But for some reason, whenever homeboy opens his mouth to sing, he just bugs. And that "You Raise Me Up" song? All you raise up, Groban, is my middle finger. Can't. Take. Anymore. I want this CD to take a flying leap off my universe.

TOM: “White Christmas” by Michael Bolton: How about all Michael Bolton? I cannot believe that he had the audacity to remake this classic. The whole Michael Bolton-is-back trip is just sad right now. Now a choir show on NBC? Lord help us through these trying times.

TRACY: Amen, brother. To make it a matched set, I also nominate "Blue Christmas" by Michael Bolton. As you imply, Tom, any Christmas carol "sung" in Michael Bolton's constipated alto should just be banned. Find the master tapes, crush them into tiny pieces with a sledgehammer, and rain the shards down on the terrorists. Or perhaps PLAYING Michael Bolton to the terrorists would be a better wartime tactic.... Like Tommy said in last year's Christmas song blog, the King and ONLY the King should sing this song.

TOM: “Step into Christmas” by Sir Elton John: Anyone knighted should never make Christmas songs. What does this one even mean? It is like someone said, “Let’s take 'Crocodile Rock' and add in the word 'Christmas.'"

TRACY: "I remember when rock was young ... CHRISTMAS. Me and Suzie had so much fun ... CHRISTMAS...." Yeah, that sucks.

Anyway, my first pick probably should have been "Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey" by Lou Monte. I heard exactly fifteen seconds of this song for the first time while driving the other day and nearly hurt myself in my zeal to change the station. Horrible. Just horrible. My brother Tom hadn't heard it yet, so this year I treated him to the sample snippet from iTunes, but he didn't quite make it through the whole thing before the F-bombs started flying. Do yourself a favor--if the words "Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey" flash onto your car radio screen at any point, put the car in park and run away.


TOM: Amen to “Dominic the Donkey.” What the hell is that? It is just plain stupid. I honestly cannot get through more than 15 seconds of it.

TRACY: And then there's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band-Aid 20. Like the Highlander movies, there should have been only one. This song was never a masterpiece, and as I noted for the past two years, the lyrics are condescending and weird. But there's something just so eighties kitsch about the original that makes me love it in all its melodrama and political incorrectness in spite of myself. (FEEEEEEEEEEED THE WOOOOOOOORRRRRLD!!!!) Remaking the song in the 21st century with the no-talent likes of Natasha Bedingfield and Will Young and inserting a horrible, horrible rap in the middle was not only a bad idea, it makes me want to jab out my ear drums with a pencil. The fact that Sirius Channel 2 INSISTS on only playing the new version makes me want to hunt down the programmers and jab THEM with pencils until they come to their senses.

TOM: The Band Aid thing is tough for me. I agree with Tracy that the new one should never be played. EVER! However, the inaccuracies of the original are also troubling. The way that Africa is generalized is just bizarre. Today, we have the Internet to easily refute the accuracy of the lyrics. However, back in 1984 when I was playing Lazer Tag and watching 5 channels on a TV with a spinning dial, we didn’t know any better.

For example “Where nothing ever grows.” Really? Nothing? How about “No rain nor rivers flow.” Anyone heard of the Nile? Even the title, “Do they know its Christmas?” Well, the song was probably written with Ethiopia in mind and guess what? Over 61% of Ethiopians are Christians! I know that there have been other rants about this, but I just wanted to pile on.

TRACY: Right, but as you say, we didn't know any better in the '80s, and neither does our nostalgia. So I say on with the original, death to Bandaid 20 albums everywhere!

TOM: Finally, anything by Mariah Carey or Clay Aiken. Do I really need to spell this one out?

TRACY: I'll spell it out--they are awful. Maybe once Mariah stops plucking her eyebrows within a millimeter of their lives and dressing like the hootchie 40-something all the other PTA moms talk about, I will consider removing her from this list. Until then, the original PopWreck is BANNED from my household! As is Clay Aiken, because he just is.

The Best

TOM: Again, I have my favorites that I have called out before: Anything by Nat King Cole or the Barenaked Ladies, "Christmastime is Here" from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, "This Christmas" by Jeffrey Osborne, "Oi to the World" by No Doubt, etc. There are a few more that I have discovered that I suggest for everyone.

“Skating” by Vince Guaraldi: I dare you to download it and play it and not think of the opening scene of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. It warms my heart when I hear that song thinking of days long ago watching it on CBS every December.

TRACY: Awwww. I love the Vince Guaraldi Trio. My first pick is "Gabriel's Message" by Sting. Christmas music and Sting. Could any combination be more perfect?

TOM: I agree with Sting. I have discovered his Christmas material this season and love it. My next pick is “Riu Chiu” by the Monkees. I may have suggested this one previously, but there is a new twist. The song is on the Billboard Top Christmas album, but for some reason, Davy Jones has been replaced on the single! Try instead to download it from iTunes off of the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones album. You will hear it as originally intended with Mr. Jones in a great 4-part harmony.

TRACY: And who found that for you? Your awesome sister, that's who. I pick the entire Christmas Songs album by the celtic group Anuna, which also includes a gorgeous men's choir version of "Riu Chiu" and my current favorite, "Winter, Fire, and Snow."

TOM: “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion: The greatest singers of all time doing a duet? ‘nuff said.

TRACY: The greatest singers of all time would include Sting, but I forgive you for your oversight. But here's a good one--"Noel Novelet" sung by opera diva Jessye Norman. Lovely, just lovely.

TOM: “Still Still” by Manheim Steamroller and others: This is one that I hear now on Sirius 86 by different choirs. I love quiet, almost haunting Christmas songs and this fits the bill. “Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra also is another quiet Christmas song that I love.

TRACY: I just bought the Jars of Clay Christmas album (They had a mainstream hit back in the 90s called "Flood,"), and there is an awesome (original?) song on there called "Peace is Here." It starts out a little cheesy, but then it rocks the free world. Jars of Clay is still rocking the '90s acoustic/unplugged style, even on their Christmas album, and I'm all over it.

TOM: "Here Comes Santa Claus” by Elvis: Everyone immediately gravitates to “Blue Christmas” by The King, which I love, but in the words of a drugged up Paula Abdul, the King makes this one “his own.”

TRACY: My final two are the Modern Mandolin Quartet's "Arabian Dance" (Yes, it's the one from The Nutcracker, and yes, I know I'm horrifying all you classical music purists out there again. But mandolins are pretty.), and "Sleigh Ride" by Los Straitjackets. Mariann, who comments here from time to time, told me about them last year--they turn Christmas carols into Frankie-and-Annette, surfer-style songs. They also play live shows in Mexican wrestling masks! How can you not love that?

Oh, and do yourself a favor and get the free MP3 download of "O Holy Night," as performed by Troy "Trombone" Shorty and a group of New Orleans musicians on the now-defunct show Studio 60. The show might have gotten a critical drubbing, but I enjoyed it, and the musicians' performance of that song was one of the most gorgeous moments on television. One listen, and you'll remember exactly why it's so important to rebuild New Orleans and keep the music going. Download it at http://www.tromboneshorty.com/studio60.html

Inexplicably, Trombone Shorty plays the trumpet on this song, but hey, guess he's just a multitalented musician.


TOM: Finally, I want to say, “Why the f@^$ are songs that have nothing to do with Christmas becoming Christmas songs?” This became apparent to me when the Men’s Choir that I am in was doing ‘Lo, how a rose ‘er blooming” this fall and it was intertwined with “The Rose.” Yes, “The Rose” by Bette Midler. Since when did “The Rose” have anything to do with Christmas? I know that these are hard times right now, but do we have to stoop this low? I am talking about you, too, “Hands” by Jewel. Just because you add a choir and the word “God” is in there doesn’t make it a Christmas song! “Celebrate me Home” by Kenny Loggins? Also, “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi--which pains me because I love Peanuts, but it is not a Christmas song! C’mon, we are losing valuable playing time of favorites with these very fringe holiday songs. Why not make “Home” by Simon and Garfunkel a holiday song? This has got to stop, people!

TRACY: OK, my brother is now going to lie down in a dark room with a cold cloth over his head before he bursts something. Thanks once again, Tom.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I'll be back later next week. In the meantime, remember to check out the Intrigue Authors Christmas Blog Blitz, which is going all the way to the very end of December!

17 comments:

HollyJacobs said...

Hi, Tom! Nice to meet you...despite your Christmas Carol grump! LOL Any brother of Tracy's and all that.

I'll agree with some of your choices for best and worst, but seriously you two...Elvis as one of the best? I'll confess, I never got Elvis. Oh, I realize he was groundbreaking, but he's never done much of anything for me, not even at Christmas. Just to be contrary, I do love Josh Groban. Sorry, Tracy, but there it is. Put that finger down. Can we still be friends?? LOL

Both of you are sadly lacking in country Christmas carols. Trisha Yearwood and Kathy Mattea both have Christmas albums that are my favorites. But the one duo whose carols say Christmas to me is...drumroll...Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. My mom played it every year, and it is the ultimate for Christmas music for me.

I'm waiting for the egg throwing! LOL

Merry Christmas both of you!

Holly

Tracy Montoya said...

LOL! For you, Holly, I'll put the finger down, and of course we can still be friends. : ) Tommy and I never got the country thing, although I'll like the occasional song here and there. Probably because our parents tortured us when we were little with WCOW-Cow Country Radio. Bleh.

I have no idea who Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme are. Off to check them out on iTunes...

HollyJacobs said...

Tracy,

Oh, I grew up listening to old school country..."Roll muddy river, roll on muddy river, roll on..." GROAN. Not really my cuppa. But the new stuff is pretty good. And as a writer, I'll confess, nothing beats watching CMT videos for inspiration.

Glad you put that finger down and that you're checking out Steve and Eydie. Thinking about them had me checking out Amazon...they put the album on CD. I think I know what's going on my next Amazon order! LOL

I still don't get Elvis. I toured Graceland, and have to confess, I didn't get that either. It wasn't just the horrible period shag carpet. It was...I don't know...no big deal. Sorry all you Elvis fans!

Holly

Tracy Montoya said...

Tommy is the big Elvis fan in our family, although I love "Suspicious Minds." And he really is the only one who should sing "Blue Christmas."

Steve and Eydie are cute! iTunes doesn't have their Christmas album, but they had a couple of albums, and one had "Baby It's Cold Outside."

kce1976 said...

Tom, my husband wants Felice Navidad added to his list. A song need more than 6 words. I, on the other hand, enjoy the song because it has only 6 words and is easy to sing along with :>)

I don't like Madonna's version, but I do love the old Santa Baby!

Merry Christmas

Karin said...

Tom, my husband wants Felice Navidad added to his list. A song need more than 6 words. I, on the other hand, enjoy the song because it has only 6 words and is easy to sing along with :>)
I also agree about Madonna's Santa Baby, but I really like the older version by Eartha Kitt.
Merry Christmas

EllenB said...

Hi Tom, I so totally agree with you about Josh Groban--- no voice -no talent. And Elvis IS "Blue Christmas."

I confess to being a purist when it comes to Christmas carols and Shakespeare :) I like classic versions.

Around here, I drive my family crazy playing John? Fahey's totally acoustical 12 string Christmas carol cd-- hey!!! Musical talent does it for me every time.

The "12 Days of Christmas" makes me snarl....and some where I heard the original version of "Santa Baby" and it's purely delicious.

Tracy Montoya said...

Thanks for stopping by again, KCE! : ) I like "Feliz Navidad," because our mom really loves Jose Feliciano and we grew up listening to him, but I understand why those six words can bug.

Tracy Montoya said...

Ellen, I can't stand any version of Santa, Baby, but you might be thinking of the Eartha Kitt one. It's much better than Madonna's. (Then again, I'd rather listen to an album of my stomach growling than that song.)

I read a blog awhile back where the writer called "12 Days of Christmas" a "death march of a carol." I thought that was appropriate. : )

MaryF said...

LOLOL!!!

I like Madonna's Santa Baby, though. And Walking in a Winter Wonderland. I absolutely agree about the Paul McCartney song....shudder.

I like Angela Lansbury's We Need a Little Christmas, Andy Williams's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and anything by Bing Crosby.

I like Suspicious Minds, too, Tracy, about the only Elvis song I like.

JSpikes said...

Hi, Tom & Tracy~
You're right on the money with most of your picks. Domenick the Donkey? Makes me want to spew. Close second? Barbara Streisand's "Jingle Bells". Take some Prozac, Babs!!

I like my traditional Christmas Carols traditional and the holiday isn't complete without Julie Andrews singing 'The Wexford Carol'. Actually, I'll play her whole Firestone Christmas Album endlessly (harpsichord... lovely), except when I break for the King Family Christmas Album. Yeah, I'm in the Way-Back Machine here :o)

Other faves? Jim Croce's "Doesn't Have to be This Way", The Waitress's "Christmas Wrappings" and- when it isn't overplayed -John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas". And who doesn't love "Snoopy's Christmas (the Red Baron Song)" and the Chipmunks? (Me, I want a hoooo-la-hooooop)

Madonna should keep her Santa fantasy to herself... ruined the lovely original for those who've only heard HER "Santa Baby" version. I like "Baby, It's Cold Outside" better, though. Not sure who the artist is (NOT the Rod Stewart one)

This was a fun blog trip. Tracy, you and your brother will be bookmarked for next year's rant!

Jeanine

Tracy Montoya said...

Mary, I agree with all of your picks (other than Santa, Baby in any shape or form), esp. Bing Crosby. He is the man when it comes to Christmas!

Tracy Montoya said...

Jeanine, I so agree with Barbara Streisand. I like her, but her Christmas songs blow.

All of your picks are also fab. The best "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is Dean Martin's, IMHO. Although the Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme one Holly told me about was nice, too.

Angryromancegrrl said...

I'll tell the truth....I can't stand "Christmastime is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The kids all sound airy and like they're forcing a falsetto. (ducking the fruitcake that is now being thrown!). Yes, it's sweet. Yes, it's good message. But it makes me cringe.

Still, 'Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney is way worse.

You know, I see a trend. Maybe it's the phrase Christmastime that annoys me...

My favorite song is still "I'll be Home for Christmas" Preferably by the amazing and timeless Bing Crosby. It makes me cry every-damned-time but I LURVE it!

Cathy in AK said...

Sharron played a snippet of that Dominic the Italian Donkey song. GAH! I think it should be Dominic the Mexican Donkey so we can make a pinata and beat it into oblivion.

I can't stand Santa Baby in any of its forms.

I've been listening to the Singers & Standards cable music station (I love reading the little pop-up blurbs about the artists) while I write, getting a nice mix of Christmas and every day tunes by singers old and new. Love Steve and Eydie, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Vic Damone. I think I was born a few years late....

Tracy Montoya said...

OMG, Cathy, that pinata comment was hysterical! I know people always say thing on email about how they were allegedly drinking something and snorted it because they were caught off guard and laughed--but I actually, honest-to-goodness just snorted my Diet Coke. Ha!

Tracy Montoya said...

Bing is the man, AngryRomanceGrrrl!

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