Saturday, November 22, 2008

Top 10 worst Christmas songs

Here’s the flipside to my recent list of the top 20 best Christmas songs: the 10 worst. I could’ve done 20, but thought I’d concentrate on the biggest stinkers.
  1. “A Soldier’s Silent Night” (circa 2004) by Ted Berndt

  2. “Santa Baby” (1987) by Madonna

  3. “Frosty the Snowman” (1964) by the Beach Boys

  4. “Little Saint Nick” (1964) by the Beach Boys

  5. “Feliz Navidad” (1970) by Jose Feliciano

  6. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (1944), recorded by various artists

  7. “Christmas in Hollis” (1987) by Run-DMC

  8. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (1979) by Elmo & Patsy

  9. “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” (1958) by Alvin and the Chipmunks

  10. “Dominick the Donkey” (1960) by Lou Monte
I can’t argue with the sentiment behind “A Soldier’s Silent Night” by Ted Berndt, but it’s stagey, heavy-handed and interminable. I switch radio stations every time this comes on. Father Berndt sounds like a great man (proud Marine and WWII Purple Heart recipient), but I can’t listen to his recording of a soldier’s poem in heavy rotation over the radio. You can read more about the story behind the recording at soldiersilentnight.com.
The cloying narration reminds me too much of Mason Adams from the old Smucker’s jams TV commercials or worse yet, Garrison Keillor.
Madonna does some things very well – electronic dance music, for example. But she’s one of the worst actresses to get work in the modern age. Her performance of “Santa Baby” is an extension of her lousy acting. She’s playing a character, some kind of spoiled young lady who would exist only in an old movie. Picture a gangster’s moll who works as a stripper, cracks her gum and is dumb as a box of rocks, but sexy hot. Suffice it to say that her rendition of “Santa Baby” is fingernails-on-blackboard grating.
The Beach Boys are responsible for two clinkers from their 1964 Christmas album.
Their version of “Frosty the Snowman” is just plain awful. They try to jazz up the clunky tune with horn flourishes. That’s like spraying Febreze on a skunk.
“Little Saint Nick” is just a lazy reworking of the group’s 1963 hit “Little Deuce Coupe.”
Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” is a catchy little diddy, but it’s advertising-jingle deep. It’s just four lines of 20 words repeated over and over and over again.
I put “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” on the list because the conversational duet between a man and a woman gets annoying after repeated listenings. I also like to make the argument, in jest, that the song condones date rape.
The female voice in the song is called “The Mouse” and the male “The Wolf,” according to Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia. Wikipedia cites Susan Loesser’s “A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life; A Portrait by His Daughter,” a book about the song’s writer.
The lyrics consist of the man attempting to convince the woman to stay with him at the end of a date. He plies her with alcohol. “Well, maybe just a half a drink more,” she sings twice.
At another point, she sings, “Say, what’s in this drink?”
Today the answer might be GHB.

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