Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time (2008 Edition) Part III

Songs that simply suck six ways to Sunday. (How’s that for some alliteration?)

These songs are simply bad on all fronts. The lyrics are either stupid, cliché, or just plain annoying. The music is the kind of bad that gets stuck in your head thus prolonging the suckiness. The singing—while not necessarily fingernails on chalkboard caliber—usually is bad enough to make one change the dial if possible.

4. “A Baby Changes Everything” Faith Hill
Check it out here:

This song is a vague allusion to the story of the virgin Mary. In reality, I think Faith is really telling her own story. A baby changes everything when you’re on tour and you’re boinking the guy for whom you’re opening, and you get knocked up (oops!). Of course two quick break-ups from the people to whom you are already engaged, a quick “storybook” wedding, and you become ½ of country music’s favorite couple. They were married in October of 1996, and kiddo number one was born in May of 1997. You do the math. A baby does indeed change everything. It sure boosted Faith Hill’s career. However, a baby doesn’t make this song un-suck. I also love videos that are basically the filming of the song recording. Wow. That’s original. At least it was back in the late 80s. Not so much anymore. What, are you too cheap to actually make a video? Maybe all of that money went to covering up the affair and pre-marital adult relations.

3. “Dear Mr. Jesus” Sharon Batts
Only watch if you have a railroad spike and a hammer, so you can pound it in your ear:

I only heard about this recently, and I actually haven’t heard it on the radio. The song was originally released in the late 1980s, so I’m thankful that for 20 years, I was spared from listening to it. This is another one of those songs that really isn’t a Christmas song, per se, it’s more like a song that has some kind of “message” and thus is played during the holiday season. I like to consider “Dear Mr. Jesus” as the Christmas edition of Suzanne Vega’s “Luka.” I wonder if they both live on the second floor. I swear that the kid singing sounds just like the kid from Poltergeist. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s another child singing. Still not cute. Still just annoying. Does anyone else suspect that this extremely young child is being exploited? Either that or she’s getting paid in Teddy Grahams. Anyhow, the gist of the song is a child sees a case of child abuse on the television and asks Mr. Jesus to help stop the pain of children by pleading, “don’t let them hurt your children.” Later in the song, the child states, “don’t tell daddy, but mommy hits me too.” So mommy hits her in addition to daddy hitting her, like it’s some kind of competition? Seriously though, child abuse is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Child abuse is also a lot easier to curb than people realize. However, I ask, what has this song done to actually prevent child abuse. Absolutely nothing. It’s a song. It’s a bad song at that. We’re not talking “Feed the World” or “Do They Know it’s Christmas Time?” or even “Goodbye, England’s Rose” where the proceeds all go to a specific charity which in turn benefits those less fortunate. I think Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA commercial about helping abused and neglected animals has done a lot more than Dear Mr. Jesus. A dog with an eye missing? Kittens in cages? Those are some low blows there, Sarah McLachlan. But it worked. I sent my check. In the grander scheme of things, it makes me wonder where Dear Mr. Jesus stands in songs for a cause. Are proceeds from the song being spent on parenting classes or respite care? Probably not. Do we have to suffer while listening to this horrible song? Afraid so. Are we made to feel guilty because there are idiots out there who hit kids? Yes. Does that piss me off? Absolutely! I guess I’m not sure what the purpose the song is supposed to serve. If it is to annoy and irritate, then it has succeeded.

2. “The Christmas Shoes” Newsong
If you must:

Did you know there is a movie based on this song? Or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, double dose of crap. The sad thing is the movie stars Kimberly Williams-Paisley. I was wondering whatever happened to her after she played the daughter in both of the Father of the Bride movies and married Brad Paisley. I expect this kind of movie poo from Rob Lowe (who also stars in the Christmas Shoes film debacle), but Kimberly? Why, Kimberly, why?

This song is another total holiday downer. Maybe I’m being selfish by wanting some auditory holiday cheerfulness during the season, but I don’t want to hear the most depressing Christmas song in the history of recorded music. I know that this time of year we are supposed to reflect on those who are less fortunate, and I do exactly that. Actually, it doesn’t take Christmas for me to help my fellow humans. I donate to charities. I volunteer. Heck, I even donate blood. All on a regular basis. None of this I-feel-guilty-for-spending-a-fortune-on-my-relatives-whom-I-actually-hate-so-I’m-going-to-toss-some-change-into-the-Salvation-Army’s-red-kettle crap. I do my part 12 months of the year, so I don’t need some whiney song about a kid wanting to buy shoes for his dying mother trying to make me feel guilty. What’s next? A parade of kids with cancer and three-legged dogs?

Also, and this really bothers me, does anyone else think that a new pair of shoes is like the stupidest gift in the universe, especially for your dying mother? (Hello? She’s barely hanging on to life. Is she going to start dancing a little two step because sonny-boy bought her some shoes? I think not.) Unless of course the kid is really planning ahead. If he’s thinking things through, he can return the shoes after mom kicks the bucket (what, she's going to wear them out on her deathbed?), and then he can use the money to buy something for himself, like a video game. I think a little Grand Theft Auto or Left 4 Dead would help the kid forget about how much his life sucks because his mom died. But if the kid is determined to get something for his mom that she will actually use. How about spending time with her? Or maybe a nice scrapbook documenting your favorite moments you have spent with dearest dying mom? That would be a good gift. Plus you wouldn’t have to cry and get some cranky guy to pony up five bucks to pay for the stupid shoes.

Aside from the depressing content of the song, it commits the fatal error of incorporating a freaking children’s choir to sing the chorus for part of the song. Children should not sing! Re-read the above section if that is already not clear to you.

And the number one Worst Christmas and Holiday Song of All Time…

1. “Christmas in the Northwest” Brenda White
Here’s a video from some people with some extra time on their hands:

What started off as a charity event, I believe, has become the Christmas song played ad nauseum for two solid months in the northwest. Here’s the kicker though, it’s more of a Portland-Metro kind of thing. In college, I was ranting (shocking, I know) about Christmas in the Northwest and all of its “might be a rainy night” crap, and my friends from the east side of the state and the Seattle area had no clue what I was talking about.

This song grates with its, ooh, look how wonderful the northwest is. Sure, I live in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., but it doesn’t mean we have to brag about it. And I’m sorry, but the line, “take away the presents, we’ll still have a tree” is simply lame. Sure, a dead tree because it was chopped down. I love a real Christmas tree, but I don’t consider it a “gift God wrapped in green.”

Now, if you have some history at Prairie, where I teach, you know my personal relationship with this song. My very first year teaching (back in 2003), my students were working on a project, and they asked if we could listen to the radio station playing Christmas music 24/7. I obliged, and of course Christmas in the Northwest came up and I went off. Seriously ranted for a good 10 minutes. Then I went on about the Christmas Shoes song and all of its vomit-inducing horridness. I actually had a student comment a few days later that she heard this horrible Christmas song, and she figured if must be the Christmas Shoes song. The next year, the same topic came up with my next batch of freshmen. One student admitted to having a choreographed interpretive dance routine to Christmas in the Northwest. They performed it for the class at some point in time. Fast forward to their senior year (last year). Our school has a tradition of Winter Wishes, where students each make a wish, and the ASB does their best to grant as many as they can. This group of now-seniors wished to do the interpretive dance to Christmas in the Northwest during the winter holiday assembly…with me…in front of the entire student body. I have to say, I think I impressed some people with my dancing ability. There is a video of it somewhere, and I will do my best to find it and post it. Anyhow, it did nothing to reduce my hatred for this song. The song is still the worst Christmas and holiday song of all time.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Worst Christmas Song for Your Consideration//A Le Le Loi La My rant on the song used in the upcoming Prairie High School Holiday Choir Concert

Seriously? Where is the point where political correctness becomes ridiculous? I was in the Battle Ground High School band room (saying my hail mary's the whole way through, mind you) and on the board I see traditional, religious based Christmas songs, like, you know, the ones that EVERYONE knows! The band was apparently working on them for the Symphonic Choir's Christmas Concert. What songs are we singing at Prairie High School under the supervision of one Ms. Tabor? Spirit of the Season from the Polar Express, and a Finnish folk song called A Le Le Loi La... and that is exactly what the lines in the song sing, a le le loi la. Repeated about 80 or 90 times, sorry, more. We are also singing When A Child is Born on the assumption that it could be ANY child we are singing about.

But A le le loi la? Seriously? Singing those words in various tones for three minutes? That's not a song, thats redundant. I don't get it, why can't we not sing GOOD songs? I suggested Merry Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. You know what she said to me? No. Why? Because that would insinuate that she was anti-war, that might offend some people. What? I asked. Who is offended by people being happy about war being over? Who isn't happy when a war is over? Who isn't relieved when a war is over? Who isn't happy and relieved about THIS war being over? What's wrong with being insinuated as possibly anti-war? It's a bloody Christmas song! Its a CLASSIC Christmas song! Not only that but it is also relevant to the times we are currently going through, and it is a great ensemble piece for a concert choir, AND THE MAIN MESSAGE ISN'T EVEN ABOUT WAR! But no, instead we get a Finnish folk song... WHAT GOOD THING CAME OUT OF FINLAND!? What interesting thing came out of Finland? I'm not being racist I'm just saying, the history of Finland is boring. A le le loi la? I swear to god, put on some trashy ensemble set of clothes from Wal-Mart, sit in a wheel chair with a blanket on your lap, hold a cup, set your right arm against your chest, limp your wrist and people would hand you their spare change with a look of pity painted across their faces. I mean dear god.

Why don't we sing O 'Holy Night? No, too religious. Santa Claus in Comin' to Town? No, no no no. We get to sing Finnish folk songs!! Oh joy!! Can't you see the enthusiasm beaming off my face! We even get to clap in tune to the music! I think there is a jig we get to do to. And why not do a repetitive Finnish folk song? No one in the audience is going to be Finnish, or get any deeper meaning from this song, but apparently, to stay politically correct, we get to stray away from traditional music to Finnish music because Finland is just that special. Maybe the board of people against the ignoring of Finland contacted the National Choir Association, getting all pissed because no one cared about the music coming out of Finland. Too busy listening to Bruce Springsteen to Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, or Mariah Carey, hell, even Art Garfunkle get's more attention then Finland!! I can see why, who wrote this song and who decided it was a great choir piece? If we wanted Prairie's Concert Choir to sound like a bunch of down-syndrome kids, we'd simply take out half of the class and call it even. But no, instead we all get tortured with this random, redundant piece of Finnish drivel. It's rediculous!