Yesterday Bonnie and I tackled the 15 best Christmas songs (secular division), and now that we’ve done our good deed, it’s time to get down and dirty with the songs we hate. Once again, we’re judging the song by itself and staying away from specific versions. There’s probably a recording somewhere of Rebecca Black singing “White Christmas,” and it’s probably the worst thing that’s ever happened, but that’s not our purpose here. We’re getting to the heart of the music and figuring out which songs are rotten to their cloying holiday core.
Let’s do it! Counting down from no. 15 all the way to the worst:
15. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”
Shane: This one is on the list purely for peer pressure reasons. Everyone I talked to, online and in person, at least mentioned this song, and some were adamant that it needed to make the cut. It’s like the reverse of “White Christmas”—people are very passionate, but in a hateful way. Personally, I like the high-pitched harmonies, and I appreciate that the writers and singers spent a lot of time figuring out exactly how chipmunks sound when they sing, and duplicating it exactly.
Bonnie: I actually don’t mind this song—at first. I like the way Alvin sings “me, I want a HUUUUULA hoop,” and I like that this song is the first thing we hear in Almost Famous, but I reach my saturation point after one listen. Anything beyond that, and this song has the potential to get stuck in my head forever. Those high-pitched harmonies start to sound a little demonic after a while, too. I’m surprised no horror-movie directors have gotten wise to this song yet; I’m picturing a deranged killer sitting in a white room with a straitjacket on, with this playing on a constant loop. SORRY, CHRISTMAS IS RUINED FOREVER.
Shane: Wasn’t Alvin and the Chipmunks a horror movie?
14. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
Shane: This song has Bono encouraging us to be glad that we’re not poor people from a third-world country. I mean, sure, I am grateful, but it seems like bad form to state it so explicitly. This is the classic example of activist musicians meaning well, but delivering their message in a very awkward way.
Bonnie: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” has good intentions, but it’s also an extremely condescending question, one that paints the poverty-stricken children of the third world as bizarre Others. Like, c’mon guys. As of 2010, 48 percent of Africa’s 1 billion inhabitants were Christian. They know it’s Christmas.
13. “Here Comes Santa Claus”
Bonnie: Like a lot of the worst Christmas songs, this one’s repetitive nature allows for Maximum Annoyance. Also, where is this Santa Claus Lane? The North Pole? Does Santa live on a street he named after himself? What a narcissist.
Shane: Not to mention the sweat-shop conditions where he makes his elves work. But you’re right, this sounds like some kind of propaganda song for a self-obsessed dictator. Replace “Santa Claus” with “Stalin” and it would probably fit right in in the Soviet Union.
12. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
Shane: Santa knows when I’m sleeping, and I’m not okay with that.
Bonnie: Shane fought for this song’s inclusion, but I’m actually fine with it. I love the Jackson 5 version, but no one else can touch it. I think it’s because no adult can get away with singing “rooty-toot-toot and rumpa-tum-tum.”
11. “Jingle Bells”
Bonnie: Fun fact: there are actually four verses to this song, all set to the same exact melody as the first one. Mercifully, most of these get left out. I almost prefer the “Batman smells, Robin laid an egg” version.