Chaos Attraction

Wacky Christmas Tunes: A Series

2003-12-14, 10:36 p.m.

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So, here's my thing about Christmas music:

Despite there being oodles of music out there in the world, it feels like the same oh, 20 songs or so are just waaaaay too popular. You can't go anywhere without hearing Silent Night, Jingle Bells, O Holy Night, Rudolph, Frosty, etc., etc. (do I really even need to name them? I thought not) for a month and a half. Retail workers feel tortured by hearing the same old stuff on repeat, and I can't blame them.

And everyone with a record contract feels the need to re-record THE SAME DAMN CHRISTMAS SONGS, over and over again, just to make a quick Christmas buck. I mean, really, does anyone need Jingle Bells done by Harry Connick Jr., LeAnn Rimes, Britney Spears, Alabama, and Kenny G (who's Jewish and really should know better that to be making a Christmas album)? And even worse are the Generic Christmas CD's, which are sung by such nobodies that they don't even get name credit on the cover of the album. For example, my "Christmas in the Country" CD. They had no shame. How much more different can you do the same things over and over? Not very. Really, after the barking dogs and Slim Sphincter, there's nowhere else to go in the different-remake category.

At any rate, CD's that are nothing but redone songs are in my opinion, a waste of money. One or two remakes per album is fine, but an entirely redone CD? Screw that, I say.

So my thing during the holidays is to look for unusual music. Joke music, funny music, horribly bad music, the works. Stuff done by Bob Rivers. and collected by April Winchell are particular favorites of mine. Things that would crop up on this list. Anything that gives me a laugh, either for its good writing or just plain horrible recording, is what I desire. Most people look at me like I just told them I ate my pet rabbit when I mention this stuff, but there's a few out there who either appreciate it or at least don't mind it. Occasionally I get duds (such as Just Say Noel, which was electronic shit for the most part), but mostly there's something at least a little redeemable about them.

And really, it's amazing that some of this shit actually becomes a hit! Would these things be a hit the rest of the year? Probably not, but they're so different from the traditional canon that they stick in your head, much like Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey. They're twisted, they're sick, they're painful, they're funny, and you don't forget them. That's why I love weird holiday music. If I can find any other holiday music along these lines that isn't Christmas, I'm even more excited.

So in honor of the holiday season, and the upcoming FaLaLaLaLa Collab, I'm going to do a series for you about crazy holiday tunes. I hope y'all enjoy the torturous fun!

Incidentally, for more great Christmas song writing, only more on the analytical/theological/practical/snarky end, I highly recommend you read The Tish McCall Report, a long and entertaining take on many of the traditional holiday classics. We both agree on a few odd trends in Christmas music, so I'll be quoting her later in other entries, but she has many fascinating things to say comparing Santa and Frosty to Jesus and the like. And Stef did a lovely holiday song rant as well.

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