Christmas music is like pornography—there’s good stuff out there, but you’ve got to search through a lot of crud and some weird German things to find it. Musical taste is subjective so we’re not here to tell you what you should like, but we can share 10 songs that pretty much any sane human will agree doesn’t deserve a place on your Christmas playlist.
10. New Kids on the Block – “Funky, Funky Xmas”
This live performance of “Funky, Funky Xmas” so perfectly encapsulates the worst parts of the ‘80s that historians from the future will use it to argue that we were a backwards and simple people. It features the New Kids dressed like Vanilla Ice, prancing around like they’re at a gay bar’s line dancing night and rapping about how they left their fireplace burning and it singed Santa’s ass. That’s not a Christmas carol, that’s admitting to criminal negligence.
And we expected better from such upstanding young men.
They tell Santa to “kick the ballistics,” but we have no idea what that means and we even asked three black people. They also ask, “How could you be booing [Christmas] with Donnie D doing it?” because apparently Christmas was once a holiday that people hated until Donnie D arrived to make it funky. Thank you, Donnie D. You’re the real Christmas miracle.
9. Lou Monte – “Dominick the Donkey”
For every classic Christmas carol that’s been popular for several generations there’s a tacky novelty song that rightfully faded into obscurity shortly after its release. “Dominick the Donkey” is one of those songs. Recorded in 1960, it tells the story of a Christmas donkey that delivers presents to the children of Italy, because apparently you’re allowed to just make up national icons if you do it in song. It’s the stupidest thing we’ve heard since we were told about B.B. the Bastille Day Snail. Wikipedia claims “Dominick the Donkey” was funded by one of New York’s major crime families, which we believe because releasing this tripe on an unsuspecting public should be considered a criminal act.
“Hi, kids! I’m Dominick the Christmas Donkey! I’m legally considered mentally handicapped!”
“Dominick” has seen a revival in recent years, because someone decided to unearth old Christmas songs without stopping to wonder why they were buried in the first place. In 2011 a British radio show started a campaign to make it a number one hit, because Britain is still ticked off at Italy about the war. It managed to reach number three on the UK sales chart, which is something to remember whenever Britain makes fun of America for Lady Gaga.
8. Lady Gaga – “Christmas Tree”
We didn’t bring up Lady Gaga as a random example. She wrote a holiday song that invites listeners to bask in the sexy majesty of her Christmas tree, which, depending on how you interpret the lyrics, may be a metaphor for her secret penis.
There are double entendres, and then there are single entendres, and then there’s Lady Gaga communicating with all the subtly of a horny rhinoceros that hasn’t gotten laid in years. We’ve watched pornography that’s less aggressively sexual than “Christmas Tree.”
And we’ve seen Christmas trees that are sexier than Lady Gaga.
It starts with Lady Gaga singing “light me up, put me on top, let’s falalalalalalalala” and if you don’t know what she’s censoring you should go back to watching Sesame Street. She then says she’ll take off her clothes underneath the mistletoe, which is supposed to be erotic but just comes across like she doesn’t know what mistletoe is for.
The most baffling part of the song is when she repeatedly says that her “Christmas tree is delicious.” There’s only one part of the anatomy that even vaguely resembles a Christmas tree, and most women don’t have one. Admittedly, we’re assuming that someone put a thought into these lyrics beyond “What if Lady Gaga had sex with Christmas? She’d immaculately conceive money babies! House made of cocaine, here I come!”
7. Jingle Cats – “White Christmas”
The Jingle Cats are what happens when a crazy cat lady takes charge of a record company through a series of wacky misunderstandings. This “song” replaces the words of “White Christmas” with the meows of cats, because nothing enhances timeless classics like shrill caterwauling. It sounds like a musician is playing a cat organ while the rest of the band is playing traditional instruments, and they all hate each other.
“You think I look cute, huh? I’m going to throw up in your bed. While you’re sleeping in it.”
The low-budget music video looks like the stargate scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey if you dropped catnip before watching it. It’s only two and a half minutes long but by the time it’s over you’ll have aged a decade. And this is just one song from an entire novelty album. If you thinking of committing suicide this Christmas, listen to the 10 hour remix of the Jingle Cats’ “Silent Night” to put you in the mood.
6. Hanson – “Everybody Knows the Claus”
After New Kids on the Block were put out to stud or whatever it is they do with aging boy bands, it was decreed by the music industry that Hanson would be the next big thing. They followed up their smash hit MMMBop with 1997’s Snowed In, a Christmas album featuring holiday staples mixed with original songs because despite the name of the album they were unfortunately able to reach the studio.
“Everybody Knows the Claus” starts with a warning that if you take Santa’s cookies he will mess you the hell up, which suggests that the Hanson brothers are the only ones on the planet who don’t know the Claus. He’s known for his generosity and good nature, not his violent reaction towards unauthorized cookie consumption.
And if they’re snowed in, why are they outside?
We then learn that Santa wasn’t fat all along, but then he started cooking one day, and now you better not try and take that turkey away. That’s right, Hanson, tell us he’s an angry man not to be trifled with and then joke about his obesity. Ignoring your own warnings always ends well.
Lines like “you’ve never seen this side of him before” and “don’t mess with the boss” would be awfully dark if it wasn’t for the generic pop-rock beat. If Alanis Morsette covered this song it would sound like Mrs. Claus filing out a domestic abuse report. Then again, I’m not sure how seriously we should take Hanson after they use the phrase “riding down the air highway.” It’s called “flying,” Dances To Crappy Songs. You don’t need to use mystical phrasing to describe something humanity mastered a century ago.
5. Cyndi Lauper – “Christmas Conga”
Cyndi Lauper has done a lot of great things. Singing “Bonga, bonga, bonga, do the Christmas conga” is not one of them. “Christmas Conga” sounds like Lauper just discovered conga music and hadn’t yet discovered an understanding of inappropriate cultural appropriation. We’re pretty sure one of the reasons Lauper works so hard to promote LGBT rights is to make up for being the worst thing to happen to US-Latin American relations since the States helped overthrow their democracies.
Santa isn’t waving, he’s signaling for help.
Lauper wishes us “joy that never ends” while she’s torturing us with a song that feels like it will never stop. There are professional torturers in black site prisons that can’t use irony that cruelly. Both the song and the album cover tells us to “have a nice life,” which in this context sounds like a threat. Live a nice life, everyone, unless you want to find yourself tied up with a bag over your head in an Eastern Europe warehouse while the CIA blasts Lauper’s shrill invitation to hold onto her hips loud enough to rattle your skull. “Tell us where you’ve planted the bomb, or we’re doing the Christmas conga again!” an agent yells, and then you confess to everything.
4. NewSong – “The Christmas Shoes”
“The Christmas Shoes” is auditory poverty porn. From the opening notes you know that you’re going to be drowned in so much sap people will mistake you for a tree. Then the lyrics kick in and you’ll wish that you actually were a tree, because trees don’t have ears.
The singer’s breathless voice makes him sound like an annoyingly soulful wimp, the kind that tells you he gave everyone in his family a charitable donation in their name for Christmas, but it’s totally cool that you got your loved ones toys instead. This is in sharp contrast to how the narrator is portrayed in the music video, which is as a sex offender lurking over his unsuspecting victim.
Ew, where are his hands?
The song is about an impoverished little ragamuffin who wants to buy his sick mom a pair of shoes, because if there’s one thing the terminally ill really need it’s sweet new kicks. The kid comes up short on scratch, but our heroic narrator makes up the difference.
Switching to “Gospel Chad Krouger” voice, our singer says that God sent him the boy to remind him of the true meaning of Christmas. Then the children’s choir kicks in, which God sent to punish us for all the sins we’ve committed this year. It’s implied that the woman dies, which means God killed a woman just to teach our singer a listen. Damn, that’s some Old Testament stuff right there.
“Christmas Shoes” was apparently based on a chain email, which is pretty much the worst form of artistic inspiration imaginable short of kidnapping hobos and forcing them to fight to the death to entertain your cruel muse. If we’ve resorted to writing music inspired by emails that escape our spam filters it’s only a matter of time before we’re listening to holiday classics like “Barrack the Communist Red Nosed Cryptoislamifascist” and “Stp Letting Downn the Ladies & Get A Bigger M@nh00d Today for Chr!stmas!!!!11”
3. Crazy Frog – “Jingle Bells”
You may remember Crazy Frog as the anthropomorphic nightmare that punished you for staying up too late to watch TV by starring in annoying commercials for ringtones. Crazy Frog also had a musical career, and the fact that his original name was The Annoying Thing should tell you all you need to know about how that went.
After what sounds like a drunken Mr. Bean yodeling “It’s Christmas” we get a rendition of Jingle Bells that was recorded when a synthesizer mated with a bell choir. Most of the words are replaced with grating sound effects, although to be fair that’s just keeping with the spirit of electronic music.
“Jingle Bells” was released as a single, and the B-side was “U Can’t Touch This.” This was in 2005. You’d be less out of date if your calendar for next year was dated 2014 B.C. And yes, it’s not just your filthy imagination—Crazy Frog has a clearly visible penis for most of the video. Festive frog fetishists rejoiced at the crossover between Christmas carols and frog porn they had been waiting on for so long.
Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!
2. The Echoing Green – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
“Do They Know It’s Christmas” is at best a ham-handed attempt at sending a good message and at worst a condescending mess that portrays the entire continent of Africa as impoverished and populated by idiots who can’t read a calendar. Half the continent is Christian, we’re pretty sure they know it’s Christmas.
The real tragedy is that photo editing job.
But at least the original song sounds like a Christmas carol, albeit a modern, poppy one. Synthpop wimps The Echoing Green decided to turn “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” into an electronic song more fit for playing in clubs with bad DJs than around Christmas trees. Because nothing gets people in the mood to shake their ass like lyrics about drought and poverty. Why not drop some ecstasy while you’re at it and make out with someone in the bathroom to the sexy vibes of cultural ignorance? We can’t wait until someone releases a dubstep version. “Don’t let aid to Africa drop like this sick beat, bros!” the DJ will shout, and someone in Sudan will shudder without knowing why.
1. The Robertsons – “Hairy Christmas”
There’s a Duck Dynasty Christmas album, because of course there is. It’s called Duck the Halls, because of course it is. It’s absolutely terrible, because of course it is.
So either a family that stars in a reality TV show as the embodiment of every lazy redneck stereotype you can imagine coincidentally has preternatural musical talents, or a marketing executive was walking down one of Walmart’s official Duck Dynasty aisles while Christmas music played and suddenly had dollar signs pop into his head, and which story you believe will determine whether you’re intelligent enough to have understood this sentence.
Recorded with a special celebrity producer, Satan!
Duck the Halls is a mix of awful takes on classics and awfuler originals. One of the ladies in the family does have a voice that’s either legitimately good or good enough for technology to make up the difference, but her primary contribution is on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and songs about date rape are disqualified from being considered Christmas classics.
The worst offender is arguably “Hairy Christmas,” so named because the men all have long beards and making a reference to that is what passes for intelligent on this album. It’s a honkytonk nightmare that references camouflage, hunting and shopping at Walmart, because nothing says the spirit of Christmas and simple, wholesome country living like namedropping the mega-corporation that’s the number one supplier of your massive product line. That’s like hearing the story of the Three Wise Men and coming away with the message that frankincense is the only scent officially endorsed by Jesus. If anyone buys this album, ducks should be allowed to hunt them.