Christmas is often described as the most wonderful time of the year and it’s not difficult to see why. Many people have expressed this feeling through the beautiful atmosphere we experience in towns, gifts, cards, people dressing as Santa Claus and its employees, even through creative arts.
Through the last couple of years, I wrote what I considered to be the best Xmas songs. This year, I’m going to explore the worst ones.
I don’t mean to sound like Ebeneezer Scrooge, but surely you’d agree that not all Xmas themed songs are great and there’s always some bad ones. I’m sure there are even some poor ones in relation to Halloween and Easter and Diwalli and, er, Guy Fawkes Night. I’m also sure you have least favourite songs as well.
Well, I’m listing them anyway, no matter when. So here’s my humbug to the following 12 songs related to Xmas that I consider the worst. Why top 12? Because it’s Christmas!
any Xmas song by Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard may have had a singing career which has lasted for about six decades and he maybe a great musician, but this doesn’t mean that all of his songs are exactly up to the spirits. I feel that his music career has gone downhill ever since the late 80s following the release of Mistletoe & Wine, one of his Xmas themed songs. I’m sorry, but that song’s just so boring, as are his other Xmas songs; Saviour’s Day, Little Town, Millennium Prayer,… none of those can compare much to those I listed as what I considered to be the best ones. There’s no depth in them, they’re too slow and quiet. I get that Cliff is a Christian and Xmas is a Christian themed vacation, but I’m not a very religious person.
If Cliff was to release something for Christmas, I think he should re-release that song he did about that shooting star which he did for that Thunderbirds movie. And no, I ain’t referring to that dreadful Jonathan Frakes version.
All I Want For Christmas (Is My 2 Front Teeth) – Spike Jones & His City Slickers
I think Spike Jones is alright. I especially loved his take on Der Fuehrer’s Face. That was hilarious. He’s a funny guy and I have nothing against the song. But I’m not keen on Spike’s take on All I Want For Christmas Is My 2 Front Teeth.
I’m all for humorous Xmas songs. I sure loved Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Dr. Elmo and Patsy, and Alvin & The Chipmunks’ take on Christmas Don’t Be Late and the Hippopotamus one by the Three Stooges.
For this version, Spike puts on a squeaky voice and sings it very slowly at a tempo of roughly 70rpm(?). I’ve known this song since my childhood and I know it’s supposed to be amusing, but I just couldn’t get into Spike Jones’ version. I couldn’t laugh or even crack a smile. Maybe if he increased the tempo, that might’ve worked and less repeating of ‘Christmas’ toward the end and not forcing ‘oh for goodness sake’. I’d have liked it better.
A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris De Burgh
Apparently, Chris De Burgh took some inspiration from some book he read which led him to wonder what would happen if the ‘star’ of Bethlehem was in fact some sort of spaceship, hence why A Spaceman Came Travelling was born.
I did say that I wasn’t a religious person, but that ain’t the reason why I placed A Spaceman Came Travelling on this list. It’s slow and boring and it just sends me to sleep. I’m all for artistry, but I couldn’t feel much of the atmosphere of the subject matter or even Christmas itself out of this song.
8 Days Of Christmas – Destiny’s Child
8 Days Of Christmas is an obvious reference to the carol 12 Days Of Christmas and it’s just one of those R&B songs which has a very bad rhythm throughout.
I have nothing against hip hop. I did love Run DMC’s Christmas In Hollis. But that was way better than this clap trap. Who would’ve thought that three ladies; Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and that other one would ‘attempt to spice up’ a carol and make it sound like they’re forgetting what the words are for a second? Hence, why we have so many irritating staccatos and the vocalists sounding like they’re already running out of breath even though it’s simple enough to sing.
I don’t care for musicians lazily taking a famous tune and turning it into annoying crap like upping the tempo and shortening notes. That’s all I have to say for Destiny’s Child.
Merry Christmas Everybody – Steps
I never liked Steps. Not only are they a vocal group, the majority of which I’m not a fan of, but I thought they were just a group of air-headed ABBA wannabes who only entered the music business just to make money and made some forgettable and/or crappy cover songs, lacking much originality.
Merry Christmas Everybody is most certainly one of Steps’ low points. Just some cover of Slade’s famous and awesome Christmas song, it seems like Steps, much like most of today’s younger generation, only know of Slade through this song which is an absolute tragedy. They probably don’t even know who the hell Noddy Holder is. I just bet that if Steps were being interviewed and if there was any mention of the guy, they’d respond “I used to love that show!” and then I’d furiously be like “no you dumb asses, we’re talking about that guy from Slade!”
So anyway, in regards to this cover, it’s forgettable, dull and uninspired. It seems like the group didn’t carefully analyse the artistry of the original song and just thought “sod it, let’s just sing it.” It’s one that’s definitely worth skipping.
Santa Baby – Madonna
I love the song, but here’s the thing. Eartha Kitt pulled Santa Baby off so great. Kylie Minogue’s version was okay. But even so-called ‘pop icons’ like Madonna need to be careful about what they cover.
It’s not like Madonna’s never done awful cover versions, let’s not forget American Pie or Hung Up – for which she misused that ABBA song. The original Santa Baby was the right tempo, but it seems like Madonna just wanted to ‘perfect’ it by unnecessarily upping the tempo and trying to sound squeakier than Eartha and failing miserably at it.
I Believe In Christmas – The Tweenies
As if I really need to state the reason. But I’ll give a bit of info anyway.
CBeebies came out during the time when I was in my pre-teens, so I was kind of too old for it. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of the shows they broadcast on there and the Tweenies is one of them. It’s about four kindergarteners who look like them creepy looking characters out of the movie adaptations of Dr. Suess’ stories and sing nothing, but nursery rhymes.
This song is an obvious exception, but that’s not for here. I came across this song years ago. Recently the fears came flooding back. I Believe In Christmas sounds like S Club 7 totally gone wrong.
Let’s just be thankful that they ain’t duetting with the Teletubbies (shudders).
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Spice Girls
I used to love the Spice Girls, but that was so ages ago. My love for the band had nothing to do with the fact that they had a shed load of UK number one hit singles and albums.
But this version of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday oversteps the mark. The song was originally performed by an awesome glam rock band led by a really intelligent bloke (and he wrote it too). The Spice Girls sound like they’re drunk. Seriously, too much giggling and the way they sing it makes me sense that they’ve drank a lot of booze before the recording. If you ladies want to get high, why not go for Fairytale Of New York?
Jingle Bell Rock – just about any version whatsoever
There are various versions of Jingle Bell Rock; Bobby Helms, Girls Aloud,…
I was obviously familiar with the song Jingle Bells. I always sang the Batman version.
Ever since I first heard a version of Jingle Bell Rock (I don’t even know which one and I don’t care), I never liked it. It killed the original carol. I mean “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bell rock”, what’s that all about? And I don’t even like how it goes. It sounds like it was written by an amateur who wants to take carols and turn it into commercial clap trap. It’ll take me a bit of rocket science to explain the music in full detail.
It was awesome enough when somebody replaced the original lyrics with Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg” and so forth. That version was great. But just because Jingle Bell Rock was meant to be a rock & roll song, doesn’t make it superior.
Christmas Time – The Darkness
Glam rock is one of my favourite music genres and there were a number of musicians associated with the genre that released Christmas material.
But The Darkness is one of my least favourite bands. High gloomy voices and amateurish melodies simply do not make any of their material glamorous. They certainly don’t work with this song. It’s like Justin Hawkins cooked the voices and guitar music together to form a Christmas dinner which had gone wrong. Think of it like pizza with a curry topping. Like seriously, those two don’t go together.
The more I hear Justin’s falsetto, the longer I’m like; “Jesus, my ears hurt!”
The Power Of Love – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
I’m just going to say that I find Frankie Goes To Hollywood one of the most overrated bands from the 80s.
There I said it. I didn’t even care much for the song Relax. But with that said, I’d take Relax any day over The Power Of Love. I don’t even know why the hell The Power Of Love should be considered a Christmas song. There’s no reference to the holiday or the season which Christmas is associated with. The religious tones in the music video doesn’t even catch my interest.
The Power Of Love is nothing, but a slow boring ballad which ruins every Christmas album I came across with that on it. It makes me so bored that I want to turn the radio over or off. There’s nothing interesting about the lyrics either. Though I suppose the line Dreams are like angels could suggest the theme. Apart from that, meh.
Before I reveal the number one pick, here are some honourable, or in this case, dishonourable mentions;
Shake Up Christmas – Train
Christmas Lights – Coldplay
Christmas Tree – Lady Gaga Feat. Space Cowboy
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Girls Aloud
Merry Christmas Everybody – Spice Girls
Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
And the number one worst Christmas song is;
All I Want For Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!) – Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber
Okay, let’s get this over with. When I was 16, I heard Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. It was used for a Christmas themed school concert which was organised by myself and some fellow AS-Level Performing Arts students. It sounds strange considering that the song was released 12 years before then and I had no idea what Mariah Carey’s music sounded like, though I was interested in it. I did hear a bit of her stuff when she performed for Live 8, but then I forgot about it afterwards. Yes, her music is so forgettable with the exception of the Christmas song. Not in a great way.
Ever since I first came across All I Want For Christmas Is You, the song has been overplayed each season, more times than the airplay from any of my favourite ones and it’s been getting annoying. Adding to my annoyance was when I was forced to sing that song during a lecture I had at university, when I had an important pitch to prepare for tomorrow. Since then, I’ve done my best to avoid the song and sing/listen to more decent and less overrated Christmas songs.
But with that said, I’d take the original song any day over this dreadful version, which features (sighs) Justin Bieber(!); one of my least favourite singers of all time, who thankfully is loosing popularity. It’s no surprise since he has transformed into an arrogant jerk, though no more arrogant than Kanye West. I did like his performance in that episode of CSI. But we ain’t talking about that.
Every time I hear this version, I hear Justin’s annoying high pitch voice and it feels like he just teamed up with Mariah Carey just to generate some cash for both artists, to make our fears come flooding back and to shove the song back down our throats, plus to maybe even boost sales for Justin’s other material which demonstrates how cheesy and bleach his music is. All it does is remind us what a cash cow the song is and expects us to believe that Christmas ain’t Christmas without All I Want For Christmas Is You.
Well, bah to this song and humbug to all the others on this list! I heard awesome Christmas songs back in my day, and recently. There was that one which united a variety of musicians to raise money to feed the Africans. There’s also one about a guy who gets put in jail for nearly beating up some carollers while trying to have a nice quiet Christmas with his bird. Or that one about the department store Santa who gets mugged by some poor kids. And let’s not forget that glam-rock tune where one of the smartest musicians wishes to have Christmas everyday…
Those are masterpieces!
So thank you all for reading this post. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!