It’s not even Christmas yet, but we’re already sick as congealing turduckens of that damn, inescapable holiday music. It’s in stores. It’s in elevators. It’s even in the woods, somehow still audible when a Christmas tree is falling and making no sound, with nobody there to hear it. And just when you think you can’t hate Christmas music any more, a band you formerly respected puts out a festive tune. And yet despite ourselves, we actually like some of these. Yes, we’re ashamed.
10. The Superions, “Fruitcake”
You might not have heard of The Superions, but you’ve certainly heard of their front man, the B-52s’ Fred Schneider. The schlocky, strutting singer channels his inner John Waters and pays kitschy tribute to the thankless - and usually unwanted - culinary contribution to the holiday season: “Whatcha baking? Fruitcake! Candy, cherries, red dye No. 2! Green cherries? Green ones too!” If the thumping bass line doesn’t get you, the absurdity of a nearly four-minute song about fruitcake will - in the best way possible.
9. Run-D.M.C., “Christmas in Hollis”
If you’ve ever seen Die Hard (which is to say, if you’ve ever been alive), then you’ve heard this song. This is Christmas music! The rap trio’s holiday single not only shared a single side with its cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” but it can also be heard in episodes of The Office and The Simpsons. Fun fact: Producer Rick Rubin only got involved with the group so they could achieve his lifelong goal of creating a piece of music that can be heard in the same film where you can see Bruce Willis’ bloody feet. Mission: accomplished!
8. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, “Marshmallow World”
With lyrics like, “Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly in the arms of the evergreen tree / And the sun is red like a pumpkinhead: It’s shining so you know it won’t freeze,” this song sounds suspiciously like the ramblings of a hippie after a seven-day music festival. But when Frank and Dino croon about “playing in the whipped-cream day,” it somehow sounds festive and not at all like the apocalyptic junk food nightmare they’re actually talking about.
7. Manic Street Preachers, “The Ghost of Christmas”
The normally brilliant Welsh alt-rock band penned this tune as a nostalgic remembrance of their Christmases in the ‘70s. Quite apart from the staggering weirdness of hearing the band that wrote songs like “Faster” and “Repeat” suddenly launch into a yuletide Slade tribute, the cranky, grandpa-ish “things were better in my day” lyrics are just embarrassing: “No Xbox and no computers / We just used our imagination / A leather football was perfection / What more could you want?” Of course, it also doesn’t help that the tune itself is fucking terrible.
6. Smashing Pumpkins, “Christmastime”
On the one hand, this song was released on an album created to benefit the Special Olympics. On the other hand, oh holy God it’s the worst. Billy Corgan’s voice can do a lot of things, but expressing delight about the most wonderful time of the year is definitely not one of them.
5. The Killers, “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”
The Killers really know how to craft a tight pop song, but this straight-faced attempt at a comedy holiday song could have used a little more time in the gingerbread oven. Having said that, the video – with a demented, evil, axe-wielding Santa Claus – is Christmas gold.
4. Blink-182, “Happy Holidays, You Bastard”
There are references to incest, lots of cursing, all sorts of family-related sexual abuse the song’s narrator desires for some unknown reasons, and yet what people still find most offensive is how the title says “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.” Don’t worry: The song’s lyrics unapologetically still refer to “Christmas eve” and not “holiday evening.” Thanks for standing for something, Blink-182!
3. Meco Monardo, “What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)”
Maybe “respectable” isn’t the right word for Meco Monardo, but his disco remix of the Star Wars theme did, in fact, go platinum, so he must have some small amount of cred in the music industry. This particular crapfest was one of nine songs on the official Star Wars Christmas album, Christmas in the Stars. The basic plot of the song is simply this: Chewbacca is hairy and has no other characteristics, making it difficult for aliens to buy him a thoughtful space gift. It’s so awful it almost makes Jar Jar Binks seem acceptable. We said “almost,” George.
2. King Diamond, “No Presents for Christmas”
Santa can withhold presents, but he can’t hold back the fist-pumping metal. And indeed, why would he want to? This is unapologetically ridiculous.
1. The Kinks, “Father Christmas”
In the spirit of the season, we’d like to remind you that not all Christmas songs from respectable musicians have to suck. Have a merry one, y’all.
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