Holiday Songs I Hate vs. Holiday Songs I Love

I do love Christmas and I love Christmas songs, but there are some songs that are so obnoxious to me that I cannot stand to listen to them.  They are classics, sung by both classic and contemporary artists, and I cannot stand them.  Conversely, there are some songs that I love dearly, can’t get enough of, the radio could loop them and I’d be forever blissful.

Worse, I always seem to turn on the radio just as one of my favorite songs is ending (or pulling up to my destination to get out) and am chagrined I’ve missed the good one, because it typically won’t get played every hour on the hour like one of the crappy ones from my list.

To Start, in no particular order, the Hate Column:

“A Few of My Favorite Things…” sung by Julie Andrews in A Sound of Music.

Why:

Because- Why the crap is this a holiday song?

Check it out on YouTube.  If you’ve seen the movie, which is a good musical, then you’ll know the kids run into their Governess’ room because there is a thunderstorm outside.  This is Austria, so at best it is late summer or early fall at the latest for there to be a thunderstorm.  No Christmas in sight yet.

The Lyrics:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Why does radio programming insist on subjecting us to this song during the holidays? Is it the mere mention of ‘Brown paper packages tied up with strings’?  That sounds like friggin’ mail delivery by pony express, not Christmas presents. I suppose it mentions sleigh bells, but this is also a more rural part of Austria during WWII when everyone didn’t own a car, much less 4×4 wasn’t yet invented, so sleigh bells are just a fact of life, that’s how people got around.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” sung by Dean Martin.

Why:

Date rape due to inclement weather doesn’t put me in the holiday spirit.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Dean Martin and for that matter the sound of any one of the Rat Pack solo or together. Given how much Dean or any of them drank and smoked it is amazing any of them were able to carry a tune so late in life.  Sure, it was a ‘different time back then’, but this song gives me the creeps.

The Lyrics:

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Well Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some music on while I pour

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir – Mind if I move a little closer
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ahh, but it’s cold outside

C’mon baby

I simply must go – Baby, it’s cold outside
The answer is no – Ooh baby, it’s cold outside
This welcome has been – I’m lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm — Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious – Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door – Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious – Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more – Never such a blizzard beforeC’mon baby

I simply must go – Baby, it’s cold outside
The answer is no – Ooh baby, it’s cold outside
This welcome has been – I’m lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm — Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious – Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door – Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious – Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more – Never such a blizzard before

I’ve got to go home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your comb – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Your eyes are like starlight now
But don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow – Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay – Get over that old out
Ahh, but it’s cold outside

Baby it’s cold outside

Brr its cold…
It’s cold out there
Cant you stay awhile longer baby
Well… I really shouldn’t… alright

Make it worth your while baby
Ahh, do that again…

Clearly the woman is worried about her reputation from either nosy neighbors, nosy family members, nosy coworkers or whatever the case here may be. While she is graciously trying to leave, Dean is working all the mojo he can muster to keep her in his house. Yes, she probably thinks him a charmer, but lines like “Say, whats in this drink?” and Dean’s response of, “No cabs to be had out there” smacks at, “No one will hear you scream.”

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town…” Sung by everyone and their second cousin- even Justin Beiber. I’m going with the Jackson 5.

Why:

Totally due to childhood trauma.  I’ll keep this part short, I’m not paying you $200/hr to hear my troubles.  My mother delighted with a sadistic flare to keep me in line by singing me this song and not just during the holidays if I started doing the, “I want that, and that, and that, for Christmas” litany all kids do when they’re near a toy store anytime after August. She would sing this anytime I started to fuss during my formidable years while I still believed in Santa Claus.  Once when I was having an especially vociferous tantrum and the ‘song’ didn’t do its trick she even picked up the phone to call the North Pole to report my poor behavior to make sure I made the naughty list with Santa.

Now if I hear this song on the radio I change the station, it totally torques me off thinking of all that emotional blackmail.  Seriously, if that were a crime, she’d have been a felon for life before I turned six.

The Lyrics:

Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town!

You know where you can stick that list?

He’s making a list,
Checking it twice,
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

Oh! You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Arg!  Angry just reading it.  I’m like Pavlov’s dog, and instead of salivating at the sound of a bell I want to storm to my room and slam a door.

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” sung by Brenda Lee (and several other remakes)

Why:

It’s just generally bothersome to me, but I think that it all started with Home Alone with Macauley Culkin. I don’t like the melody or maybe it’s the harmony– not sure, I’m not musically inclined, I can just tell you this is not my favorite. Maybe that combined with scrawny, obnoxious Macauley on the screen and there was no hope for me and this song to be on good terms.

The Lyrics:

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
At the Christmas party hop,
Mistletoe hung where you can see,
Every couple tries to stop,
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree,
Let the Christmas spirit ring,
Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie,
And we’ll do some caroling.

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear,
Voices singing, “Let’s be jolly,
Deck the halls with boughs of holly”,
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree,
Have a happy holiday,
Everyone dancin’ merrily,
In the new old-fashioned way.

You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear,
Voices singing, “Let’s be jolly,
Deck the halls with boughs of holly”,
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree,
Have a happy holiday,
Everyone dancin’ merrily,
In the new old-fashioned way.

You can click the link above, and listen to the jazzy saxophone and Brenda Lee working it. I’ve already listened to it twice just writing this article to try to pinpoint where it goes wrong for me and I just can’t.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” sung by Band Aid (a bunch of artists)

Why:

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  The song was created to raise money/awareness for starving Ethiopians. Meanwhile the lyrics suggest they’re singing about a bunch of savages that are clueless to cultural differences of others living around them. Fun fact, Ethiopia’s predominant religion is Christian, so I’m pretty sure they know it’s Christmas time.  In the 2007 census 62.8% identified themselves as a form of Christian, I’m doubtful that statistic has changed significantly since 1984. Also, not a lot of snow falling in Africa during any ‘Christmas time’ unless you count the very high mountains because the predominant regions most commonly inhabited that will snow are South of the equator making their Christmas warm like our summer.  Geography/Climate/Religion fail. Good job guys.

The Lyrics:

It’s Christmas time,
there’s no need to be afraid.
At Christmas time
we let in light and banish shade
And in our world of plenty
we can spread a smile of Joy
Throw your arms around the world
at Christmas time.

But say a prayer,
Pray for the other ones.
At Christmas time it’s hard
but when you’re having fun…
There’s a world outside your window
and it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is
the bitter sting of tears
Where the Christmas bells that are ringing
are the clanging chimes of Doom
Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life.
Ohh….
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Here’s to you…
Raise a glass for everyone
Here’s to them
Underneath that burning sun
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Feed the world…
Feed the world…

Feed the world,
Let them know it’s Christmas time again.
Feed the world,
Let them know it’s Christmas time again.

This will be a great transition into my ‘Love’ list.  I loved this song for years because I just rocked out and was ignorant of what they were really singing. I’m sure it wasn’t meant the way it sounds now, but all that awareness and sensitivity for minorities they’ve been beating into us for the past 20 + years just makes me have a guilt trip for liking the song. Hence, I can’t like it, society told me it’s rude to, and when I read the lyrics and know what I know about the country (even before writing this article) I kinda have to agree.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now for the Holiday Songs I Love

I love far more Christmas and Holiday songs then I hate, but there are a few I just can’t seem to get enough of.

“Christmas Eve / Sarajevo” (aka ‘Carol of the Bells‘) performed by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Why:

I’m rolling in their glory on YouTube. If you are trying to remember what this song is originally called it would be ‘Carol of the Bells.’ I love the traditional versions too!

Go ahead and put ‘Cannon in D‘, their version is ‘Christmas Cannon‘ and most any TSO songs here, but ‘Christmas Eve/Sarajevo‘ takes the cake all the way to the bank. For all the reasons I don’t like ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree‘ is why I love this song; basically I can’t say why, it just moves me.

I guess I’m just a sucker for power ballads. Yes, they’re also pretty awesome in concert. They came to Portland, Oregon and it was spectacular.

“Walking In The Air” sung by a boy soprano Peter Auty for the short animated movie The Snowman.

Why:

It makes me want to cry it’s so beautiful.  I know some say Charlotte Church does that for them, and she’s a pretty fantastic child-singer (or was, that was a long time ago). This movie was sweet, and this kid’s voice is just awe-inspiring and precious.

The Lyrics:

We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the moonlit sky
The people far below are sleeping as we fly

I’m holding very tight
I’m riding in the midnight blue
I’m finding I can fly so high above with you

Far across the world
The villages go by like dreams
The rivers and the hills
The forests and the streams

Children gaze open mouth
Taken by surprise
Nobody down below believes their eyes

We’re surfing in the air
We’re swimming in the frozen sky
We’re drifting over icy
Mountain floating by

Suddenly swooping low on an ocean deep
Arousing of a mighty monster from its sleep

We’re walking in the air
We’re floating in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly

It makes you want to be a little kid again when I listen, watch and read the lyrics.

“Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord!” sung by Boney M.

Why:

This song is non-standard with the tropical Jamaican steel drums, but this just makes you want to clap your hands and dance. I have no special memories for this song other than as mentioned in the introduction I always seem find it on the radio just as it’s getting over.

I love the lyrics, it drives me to praise the LORD, it just does it for me. I suppose for those who don’t believe they wouldn’t understand. I’m sorry for that, I was once like that too, I hope it moves you in the right direction if you give it a chance.

The Lyrics:

Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.

Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say,
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

While shepherds watch their flocks by night,
they see a bright new shining star,
they hear a choir sing a song, the music seem to come from afar.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.

For a moment the world was aglow, all the bells rang out
there were tears of joy and laughter, people shouted
“Let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace.”

Now Joseph and his wife, Mary, came to Bethlehem that night,
they found no place to bear her child, not a single room was in sight.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

Oh a moment still worth was a glow, all the bells rang out
there were tears of joy and laughter, people shouted
“let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace”.

“The Little Drummer Boy again, everyone and their second cousin has covered this tune.

Why:

I’m really particular about this song, it sounds great no matter whom I hear sing it (obviously I mean anyone with some professional talent), but I’m particularly fond of it when sung solo by a man.  Bob Seger, Johnny Cash, Josh Groben, Bing Crosby and David Bowie (together!), Jackson 5, as well as Jars of Clay and Mercy Me have all taken a swing at this, plus many more. I’m linking you Mercy Me, because while it is contemporary it has a tempo that’s faster than watching paint dry.  Some artists just try to drag this one out.

If you haven’t watched the stop-animation movie Little Drummer Boy you’re missing out, go download/rent it.  I know, Netflix is taboo now, but do what you have to. I remember during the week preceding Christmas in elementary school this movie got played every year.  It was great.

The Lyrics:

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new-born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t even play a drum to honor him…

Finally,

“God Rest ye Merry Gentleman / We Three Kings” sung by Barenaked Ladies featuring Sarah MacLachlan

Why:

Ha!  Seriously, this song is a wicked remake of a classic and totally unexpected.  Not that I don’t like some Barenaked Ladies music from time to time, but I am not a huge fan (Even though I mentioned them in a prior article), I don’t even own a single CD the only song I’ve downloaded from Rhapsody is this one.

Lyrics:

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

This version of the song is aces with one exception;  What the crap happens at the end?  No, it’s not a YouTube failure, it’s like that no matter where I have gone to find it. The tempo is really picking up and Sarah MacLachlan starts laying on her vocal waif-fu demonstration for ‘We Three Kings‘ when the song just cuts out.  So, for a song that I love so much, it gives me great angst – I suppose you could circle back to the top of the article now for Holiday Songs I Hate. 🙂

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