Every year I look forward to hearing the Sounds of the Season on the radio or television. DirecTV turns the 40s channel into a Christmas channel and Magic 96 in Birmingham plays just Christmas music from early November through Christmas Day. I appreciate the effort, but it usually leaves me flat. It isn’t just that they don’t play enough real CHRISTmas songs. Or that some of the “artists” they select leave one underwhelmed. All that I expect. There is no accounting for taste as they say.
It’s just that way, way too many of the songs have nothing to do with the Christmas event, secular or sacred. Many offenders are winter songs, usually something to do with snow, that can be rather jolly. Still, too many Christmas songs that might put one in a festive mood, whether they be Santa songs or songs that truly herald the birth of Jesus, end up lost in the shuffle. I can think of a couple of inoffensive show tunes that have become seasonal standards. Toyland has nothing to do with Christmas. It’s just a Victor Herbert song from his operetta on Mother Goose. It is rather sad about leaving childhood where one “can never return again”. Another new standard is My Favorite Things from the “Sound of Music”. These are wistful and can make you think about Christmases past so that redeems them somewhat.
The truly horrible songs, however, don’t have this redeeming quality. They are just seduction songs that mix in some ice and snow. Many are dirges about some love affair that went awry. Here in no particular order is my preliminary playlist of the Truly Horrible Songs I’ve heard ad nauseam this Christmas.
Baby, it’s cold outside. I was horrified a few years ago to hear this Esther Williams seduction number had been turned into a holiday song. It’s not even really cold outside as the scene takes place in LA and Esther is swimming outside most of the time in her signature bathing suits. I don’t revile it at all for what it is and the PC crowd’s silly sniveling about it being a date rape song makes me want to like it even more. But, it is NOT a Christmas song. Christmas isn’t even portrayed in the movie. Ricardo Montalbán is in town to play polo, and it is sunny and warm as usual.
Snow. This Rosemary Clooney song also comes from a movie, “White Christmas”, so at least it has a Christmas theme. But the entire song is about snow and how soon they will see it and can go skiing. She is so enthralled with the white stuff that she wants to wash her face and hair with it. Even up north snow usually doesn’t arrive until after Christmas. You have to go to the mountains to get it beforehand. Snow just leaves me cold. We got it Christmas Eve exactly once in my lifetime, in 1985. I guess it was nice. I worried about making it to Christmas dinner the next day, but of course, it melted away immediately. Thank Goodness!
Let it Snow. I guess you are getting the theme now. Yep, it is another seduction, possibly post seduction song about how it is starting to snow or may snow so there’s no need to hurry out into it, and Dino and friend can spend some quality time popping corn and snuggling by the fire. Nothing wrong in any of that except that it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with Christmas. Christmas isn’t mentioned at all in the song. Ostensibly it’s February and it’s really COLD outside (not LA). So by all means, cuddle by the fire, do some snogging, drink some hot cocoa, but don’t play this song at Christmas. Thank you very much.
Frosty the Snowman. Ok, I admit I hate including this song, because it is jolly, and there are children in it playing with a magical snowman who came to life one day, probably AFTER Christmas. Again Christmas isn’t mentioned in the song. True, they turned it into a Christmas themed cartoon narrated by Jimmy Durante. He led them down the streets of town right to a traffic cop. Hey, don’t you cry, he’ll be back again next year. So, white lives do matter. It is charming in a heavy hammy way, but I hate songs about snow. So enough said.
Blue Christmas. Ok, it mentions Christmas, but that isn’t enough or at least it isn’t Christmassy enough. I love the King of Rock-and-Roll as much or as little as the next guy, but the song is a downer. It is a post love affair gone south (unfortunately not south enough as he still mentions the white stuff). It will be a blue Christmas without her and cold too no doubt. She’ll be doing alright with her Christmas of white but he’ll have a blue, blue, blue, BLUE Christmas. Where’s my Prozac? Thanks man for destroying the Christmas mood. And happy new year to you too.
So this is Christmas. OMG, where do I start with this shrug of a song? Ho hum, SO this is Christmas. This is the modern version of “Bah! Humbug!”. What have we done? I suppose you will want the WHOLE day off? Can’t you Bob Cratchits do something meaningful to save the world? What a waste of carbon credits! Don’t you dare squander any more coal! Stop populating the world with tiny Tims. It’s the Earth, stupid. Why isn’t it titled Just Imagine There’s No Christmas? It would make the cheerless thought complete.
Winter Wonderland. I know, I know. It is so popular and upbeat, and it is ubiquitous. And it sounds Christmassy. At least, the seduction is headed somewhere since they do want Parson Brown to marry them as soon as he’s in town. Old Rev. Brown must get around. It’s so quaint that she’s holding out for the ring. Until then, they frolic and play in the Eskimo way while pretending that the snowman they built is a circus clown. Well, that just turned creepy. Let’s move on.
Jingle Bells. This song was written by the uncle of J.P. Morgan. Morgan must have been so proud. JP made his money financing huge corporations but his uncle was one of the first to make it big in advertising. This jolly song has nothing to do with Christmas either unless, of course, you are in the market for a new sleigh. It has a different take on seduction. Just think what a stud you will be when you pull up to Fanny Bright’s house in your spanking new 1857 Pierpont Sleigh LX Deluxe. She’ll love the Metallic Crimson paint job. Oh no, they fall into a snowdrift and get upsot. He wrecked it the very first day and hadn’t even made the first payment.
Last Christmas. He gave her his heart and the very next day, she gave it away. Sigh, well that’s life. It’s a Christmas song because this happened to him somewhere around Christmas last year. Pathetic. This is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. It’s all about “me” and the bad choices “I” made last year. This year, he’ll give his heart to someone SPECIAL. Well, let’s hope he chooses more wisely. He’s known her two weeks this time. Remember, just because they meet under the mistletoe doesn’t mean it’s true love. But hey, thanks for sharing. Thanks for taking the magic out of the season. In other words, thanks for nothing.
Feel free to send me your nominations. Perhaps, I’ll do a list of honorable mentions next Christmas. I’ll blog them to someone special. Merry Christmas and God bless us everyone!