Are you a holly-jolly, a semi-purist, a purist, or a liturgical purist?
November 29, 2016 11:44 AM   Subscribe


 
What's the group that would prefer not to hear any Christmas music at all? 'Cause that's my granfalloon.

Not because I'm opposed to Christmas, but because most Christmas music is terrible and overplayed.
posted by SansPoint at 11:50 AM on November 29, 2016 [27 favorites]


There are two good Christmas songs: Feliz Navidad and the first movement of Handel's Messiah. Everything else, even when occasionally performed by talented artists (see: Bing Crosby and Bowie performing Little Drummer Boy) is dreck.
posted by Itaxpica at 11:54 AM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nutcracker Suite 24/7 or nothing.

Also, if your outside decorations feature Xmas music I'm disabling or destroying that shit.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:54 AM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


What's the group that would prefer not to hear any Christmas music at all? 'Cause that's my granfalloon.

We are Bah-Humbuggers, of course.
posted by briank at 11:55 AM on November 29, 2016 [12 favorites]


Itaxpica: Feliz Navidad

No. No it's not. At least not the popular version.

I'll give you Handel's Messiah, though.
posted by SansPoint at 11:57 AM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also related: the famous Judge John Hodgman episode about when it's appropriate to put up a Christmas tree, which in turn gave birth to the Sadness Tree for (S)Advent.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:58 AM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


According to this, I'm an atheist semi-purist who prefers religious carols but not necessarily hymns, although I will make an exception for that Mariah Carey "All I Want for Christmas" song even though I hate Love Actually. I guess if forced to convert, I'm going holly-jolly rather than purist.
posted by gladly at 12:02 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


I want to be a liturgical purist, on some level, but that ship has sailed, so just keep it after Thanksgiving. There are SO many good Advent carols, though. All you ever hear outside of church is "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" which is a great song obviously, but what about "Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending" or "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:02 PM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


There are two good Christmas songs

What properties make a Christmas song "good"?

alternatively: How would you measure the "goodness" of a Christmas song?

---

I think of Christmas songs as like Indian Ragas. Because they are played at the same time as certain traditional events, they become emotionally associated with those events. Then that emotional association feeds into the emotions of the events themselves, which in turn feeds into the feelings the songs bring up, and so on circularly.

This is a way people communicate emotional context to themselves, and it's valuable.
posted by amtho at 12:03 PM on November 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


Winter Wonderland, when sung jauntily, is a decent holiday tune. Frosty the Snowman brings the Gen X Childhood feels, so thats ok in moderation too. Jingle bells, while recently bastardized by any number of feckless popular musicians, is still a solid sing-along classic.

Santa Baby, Baby It's cold Outside, Holly Jolly Christmas, are all absolutely forbidden in my house. I'd rather listen to the ceaseless howling of wind punctuated by the faint mewling of orphans freezing on my doorstep than any of those pieces of christmas shit.
posted by Chrischris at 12:03 PM on November 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


A Christmas tree devoid of any ornamentation besides lights, especially if they're only nice warm/yellow tinted lights, is a lovely addition to a living room. We put ours up like this after the election (RIP our hopes and dreams) so it was well before Thanksgiving, and we love it.

Christmas music followed on the radio, which I was not such a fan. It was fun at first, but there are only so many "safe pop*" iterations of pop classics that the songs repeat way too frequently for my taste. And my taste in Christmas music is caroling a week or so before Christmas, then KUSC's classical music on Christmas morning, but that's mostly informed from family traditions and nostalgia.

* There are a ton of interesting, fun and unique renditions of holiday classics, like the entire album It's A Holiday Soul Party by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, but they never make it anywhere near commercial pop stations, which is a damned shame.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Everything else, even when occasionally performed by talented artists (see: Bing Crosby and Bowie performing Little Drummer Boy) is dreck.
But ... what about Nadja's doom metal cover of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:06 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


HO HO HO
MERRY F*CKING CHRISTMAS


Also, for those who rightly can't stand "Baby, it's Cold Outside" and its eleventy-billion cover versions, please enjoy Key and Peele's "Just Stay for the Night"
posted by Rhaomi at 12:07 PM on November 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm inclined to agree with the general idea that Christmas music is terrible. But Joseph Spence's Santa Claus is Coming to Town is not just the greatest seasonal recording ever, it's on the short list for greatest thing in existence. If we were to send out a Voyager 3, I think we should just fill the golden record with repeated plays of it.
posted by Quindar Beep at 12:08 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


"Go Tell It On the Mountain" is a fantastic Christmas song that I wish I heard more, but maybe I'm just listening to the wrong stations.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:09 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


alternatively: How would you measure the "goodness" of a Christmas song?

scores high on schmaltz, low on annoyance
posted by thelonius at 12:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


You can have Andy Williams when you pry him from my cold, chapped hands.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


This year I'm just screaming the lyrics to Hard Candy Christmas til January
posted by The Whelk at 12:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


The appropriate time to start hearing Christmas music is December 1st, except in my family when it is December 2nd. It would be December 1st, but that's my mother's birthday, so it should be reserved for the singing of Happy Birthday. None of this has anything to do with liturgical calendars and everything to do with Gregorian civil calendars.

I will begrudgingly concede the early putting up of outdoor decorations if it's expected to get effing cold where you are in December, though.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:13 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


Christmas music is terrible, but it's hardly unique in that. There's a lot of annoying and terrible music out there.

The difference between Christmas music and other terrible music is that most terrible music isn't being played non-stop in public places for a month or more of the year, every year.

That sick feeling I get when I'm in a grocery store and I hear some godawful song I hated when it was popular and thought I was free of? It's like that, but a thousand times worse.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:16 PM on November 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


I always wait until the day after Thanksgiving before putting my HP Lovecraft Historical Society holiday songs into rotation. Also, Advent hymns for the win.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:16 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


There are a few traditional Christmas songs that I tolerate, but I'm much more a fan of what I might call "winter music". Traditional songs that celebrate (or mourn) the turning of the seasons, the end of the year, the beginning of a new one. My favorite is probably the Poor Clares' rendition of "Ny Kirree Fo Niaghtey", a beautiful but very sad Manx song.

So no, keep your Christmas music. Bring me half-pagan wassails, drinking songs to chase away the dark, and sad songs to embrace it.
posted by jedicus at 12:16 PM on November 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


No love for Jingle Rock Bell? Who even are you people?
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2016 [19 favorites]


I' ve revised my position to grudging acceptance so long as it isn't steamrolling another festival/holiday, so anytime post Thanksgiving is probably fine in the states. Starting before halloween is an abomination.
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


I will make an exception for that Mariah Carey "All I Want for Christmas" song

I'm partial to this version, myself.
posted by NMcCoy at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


anytime post Thanksgiving is probably fine in the states

My birthday is at the beginning of December, so I've managed to get my wife and friends to wait until after that, at least in my presence.
posted by jedicus at 12:20 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Come to think of it, I'm a terrible Grinch (I hate Christmas; the giving and receiving of gifts causes terrible anxiety), but I really love Christmas music. It's just so singable.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:21 PM on November 29, 2016


Next, I’ll tell you the problems with each group.

Whatever the quality of their classifications, these guys have got the internet down.
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


As I am Jewish, I will only listen to Christmas music written by Jews.

So most of it.
posted by maxsparber at 12:23 PM on November 29, 2016 [53 favorites]


I'm mentally keeping track of how long it takes for me to suffer through the worst Christmas song of all this year: "Wonderful Christmastime." I swear, that song alone is proof the REAL Paul McCartney died in that car crash back in '66. It literally sounds like his synthesizers are screaming in pain.

I know I won't be able to make it through the whole season without hearing it once, but I'm hoping I can make it to Gaudete Sunday.
posted by SansPoint at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2016 [14 favorites]


Fairytale Of New York is probably the only one that captures the mood of sentimental drunkenness I usually achieve over the holidays. If I'm going for a sort of indie-but-liturgically somber Christmas mood, Sufjan Steven's O Come O Come Emmanuel and Bombay Bicycle Club's In The Bleak Midwinter are good.

I used to be a hardline Not Until December Christmass'er, but realistically having the levees of US Thanksgiving hold is about as much as I can hope for.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


We fudged the rules and said the Vince Guaraldi Trio was acceptble at all times because that was what the kiddo went to bed to. She's moved on since then but I think the rule stands.
posted by Artw at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


How do we feel about Elton John's "Step Into Christmas?"

Disclaimer: I kinda dig it
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:28 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Artw, you are correct sir. Nothing feels better on a lazy winter afternoon than an all-Guaraldi soundtrack.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:30 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm mentally keeping track of how long it takes for me to suffer through the worst Christmas song of all this year: "Wonderful Christmastime."

Why wait?
11 hour loop of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime"
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:31 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


I had a dentist appointment yesterday. Right as I sat down I got Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time (aka the worst Christmas song ever written) as the soundtrack to the hygenist torturing my mouth.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:31 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


The worst Christmas song is the version of "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes which is what I imagine the sound of pure madness is.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:32 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vince Guaraldi Trio was acceptble

Yeah, his music was OK. But what really makes it come to life is, being performed with two-handed tapping on electric bass.
posted by thelonius at 12:32 PM on November 29, 2016


So I work (and/or waste time on metafilter) in coffeeshops most days, and having forgotten my headphones today has given me new insight into Christmas songs and how I feel about them.

WARNING HOT TAKE FOLLOWS:
  • pre-20th-century non-secular stuff is best: even Joy to the World feels like a vacation after the weird mournfulness of White Christmas — a song that should be illegal in California — and the forced joy of Holly Jolly Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock and all that.
  • Compared to all other secular 20th/21st century Christmas stuff, Wonderful Christmastime is a perfectly fine song. The song's chief virtue is that it seems legitimately cheerful, rather than just being a song that refers to cheeriness. Like, McCartney is having so much fun screwing around with his new synthesizer, and you can tell, and that makes me smile.
In short, I believe that a good Christmas song has to be either legitimately joyful, which is to say produced by someone having fun doing it, and/or legitimately solemn. Bad Christmas songs, on the other hand, talk about joy and/or solemnity without actually embodying either.

phony joy! phony solemnity! phonies everywhere, I tell you!

...</holden_caulfield>

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:33 PM on November 29, 2016 [14 favorites]


I just want to mention that the Mariah Carey song "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is not a song dug out of the 50s or early 60s, but was actually written by Carey in 1994. That's ridiculous. I mean, I know that it's a generation old at this point, but even when it first appeared it felt like it had been around all my life.

Mariah Carey deserves some kind of medal for writing that song, because she tapped a zeitgeist that existed before she was born and pulled it into her (then) present and pushed it forward into the future. There aren't many songs that have done that, ever.

Pure pop brilliance, and an instant classic song.
posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on November 29, 2016 [51 favorites]


Atom Eyes: Flagged as "offensive"

(Okay, not really, but I'm giving you the frown of a lifetime from behind my keyboard.)
posted by SansPoint at 12:34 PM on November 29, 2016


Like, McCartney is having so much fun screwing around with his new synthesizer, and you can tell, and that makes me smile.

I used to no-kidding-hate that song, it was basically my Christmastime Wonderwall, a song which the passage of time has also dampened my ire towards slightly, but the synth-goof aspect of it might be its one saving grace. There are points where synth filter sweeps are inappropriately stomping all over everything in a comical way. The guitar tone on the hesitant, nearly riffy nearly solo punctuations is also very nice.

It goes without saying that the childrens choir, who should really be much better after having practiced all year long, are an abomination, as they are in any pop song.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:39 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's an odd sort of paradox, but as a secular non-Christian, I find myself most closely aligned with the Liturgical Purists.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:39 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Anyway, if we are going to make this a thread about Christmas music, I want to push forward (as I have done ever year for a long time) the Annie Lennox album A Christmas Cornucopia, the Tori Amos album Midwinter Graces, and Carla Bley's Carla's Christmas Carols. These three albums have all been utterly thrilling to me as someone who has been listening to Christmas music for several decades, often passionately.

There's a lot that can be done with Christmas music that can be more than "oh, just another version of that song", and these exemplify that.
posted by hippybear at 12:41 PM on November 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think I'm probably a blend of purist and liturgical purist these days. Not that I'm religious myself, but I guess I'm just a little worn out on a lot of the standards, and am refreshed by hearing less-known seasonal hymns if I can get them.

For me at the moment, the darker the better. E.g. The Coventry Carol, about the Massacre of the Innocents. Does "despairing" count as "solemn"?
posted by theatro at 12:42 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


I'm Muslim, so I am perpetually a Christmas tourist: I amble on through the Christmas season enjoying the food and music and sights, and feel nothing but a sort of vague, reflected nostalgia about all of it, while having no real holiday obligations. (A thing my cousin's husband said on surveying Black Friday shopping madness: "I'm so glad we don't have to care about Christmas present shopping.") Living in Southern California, I'm mildly resentful of all the reminders of "real" winter, because it snowed like half a foot ONCE in my parents' area, and it was a bizarre freak weather event that was frankly sort of unsettling.

None of this prevents me from having Opinions about Christmas music. I have a....pretty big Christmas playlist, actually. Most of it is Sufjan Stevens (the perfect mix of solemn, weird, and delightful), and the rest is almost all assorted indie takes on classics or sadsack Christmas songs like "It's Christmas So We'll Stop." I listen to it only after Thanksgiving, usually while holiday baking. Why do I holiday bake? Because I goddamn love gingerbread cookies and need an excuse to bake a shit ton of them, ostensibly to liberally hand out to coworkers, friends, and family, but mostly to hoard a supply for me to live off of for a month.
posted by yasaman at 12:47 PM on November 29, 2016 [21 favorites]


I effing LOVE all Christmas music except:
> the original version of "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" (but I love the Mavis Staples version that Colbert had a few years back
> The Supremes' Children Christmas Song (ding-dong-ding-dong-hear-the-bell ring-ing-out-the-first-No-el)
> Christmas Wrapping
> Wonderful Christmastime

I crank it up on Thanksgiving Day and play it until New Year's Day. Right now I'm listening to the Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings album - thanks, filthy light thief!
posted by kimberussell at 12:49 PM on November 29, 2016


Chrischris:How would you measure the "goodness" of a Christmas song?

"If the poem's Christmas song's score for perfection is plotted along the horizontal of a graph, and its importance is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the poem yields the measure of its greatness goodness."
posted by MrGuilt at 12:57 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


All James Brown's Funky Christmas, all the time. Most other things? Meh.
posted by threecheesetrees at 12:59 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jon Mitchell: For Paul synth-goofery, I much prefer "Temporary Secretary"
posted by SansPoint at 1:00 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


My folks got me a Blues Christmas album a few years ago, with such classics as Trim Your Tree:
I’m gonna bring along my hatchet/ my beautiful Christmas balls/ I’ll sprinkle my snow up on your tree/ and hang my mistletoe on your wall/ Baby, I’ll make you cheery/ Baby, you’ll call me dearie/ Baby, I want to trim you/ a beautiful Christmas tree.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:04 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Atom Eyes: Flagged as "offensive"

OK, as penance for that transgression, I've compiled a playlist of some of my favorite super depressing contemporary Christmas tunes. I love every damn one of them. Enjoy!

It's Christmas So We'll Stop - Frightened Rabbit
Joy - Tracey Thorne
Hard Candy Christmas - Dolly Parton
Home on Christmas Day - Captain Elmo McKenzie & The Roosters
Just Like Christmas - Low
So Much Wine - The Handsome Family
Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas - John Denver
Christmas Unicorn - Sufjan Stevens
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:05 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


Jon Mitchell: For Paul synth-goofery, I much prefer "Temporary Secretary"
"Cuff Link" for me.
posted by thelonius at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2016


I normally don't like Christmas music earlier than like a week before Christmas, but I've broken that rule this year for Jon Batiste's new Christmas album.
posted by noneuclidean at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love Christmas music. ALL OF IT. The sappier and cheesier the better as far as I'm concerned. And yes, that includes Last Christmas by Wham!.

BUT.

If I hear ANYTHING by Aaron Neville....I will either run screaming from the room or just turn it off. Whichever is faster. It's just his vibrato. Can't take it.
posted by cooker girl at 1:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Personally, Fairytale in New York has gone the way of Take On Me. A song I used to be pleased to hear for the first time in ages up until very recently, but now near-ubiquitous. My Christmas ear-pricker is Jona Lewie's excellent Stop The Cavalry. Dragged my sister to see him perform live in a backstreet pub a couple of years ago and it was a great evening (complete with straight and alternate accordion versions).

That said, a lot of the '70s Slade, etc Glam Rock Christmas songs still define the season for me. Christmas qua Christmas is The Victorian '70s chez comealongpole. (My grimdark '90s heart does wish that Monster Magnet's Dead Christmas was a bit catchier and Beck's Little Drum Machine Boy a little more focused though).
posted by comealongpole at 1:12 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


The secret of White Christmas is that it is actually a song *about* California, but no one ever performs the introductory verse, so you miss the whole narrative frame.
posted by enf at 1:19 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


comealonepole: Glam Rock? Thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite anti-Christmas songs, "Thank God It's Not Christmas" by Sparks
Thank God it's not Christmas
When there is only you
And nothing else to do
posted by SansPoint at 1:20 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


Most of it is Sufjan Stevens (the perfect mix of solemn, weird, and delightful)

I have a special fondness for his weird Christmas music, like "Come On! Let's Boogie to the Elf Dance!" and "Get Behind Me, Santa"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:21 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


BRIGHTLY SHONE THE MOON THAT NIGHT
THOUGH THE FROST WAS CRUUUUUUEL
WHEN A POOR MAN CAME IN SIGHT
GATHERING WINTER FU-UUUU-ELLLLLL

pls pretend I am a rotund British baritone, as it is who I imagine myself to be whenever I get to sing Good King Wenceslas.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:22 PM on November 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


I hate Christmas music; specifically lyrical christmas music. Your various Muzak-ed background melodies are fine; provided they are only played after Thanksgiving.

That said, I'll make exceptions for Spinal Tap's Christmas With The Devil or the entire Christmas With The Vandals album.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:24 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


What properties make a Christmas song "good"?

alternatively: How would you measure the "goodness" of a Christmas song?

---

I think of Christmas songs as like Indian Ragas. Because they are played at the same time as certain traditional events, they become emotionally associated with those events. Then that emotional association feeds into the emotions of the events themselves, which in turn feeds into the feelings the songs bring up, and so on circularly.

This is a way people communicate emotional context to themselves, and it's valuable.


What makes a Christmas song good is the same thing that makes any other song good, ie, almost entirely personal taste.

As a Jew I have none of the emotional connection to Christmas music that seems to burden so many goyim of otherwise excellent taste, so trust me when I tell you: most of it suuuuuuuuuuucks.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:25 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


And Wonderful Christmas Time is the worst of the bunch. If most Christmas music is being beaten upside the head by an elf wielding a stocking full of bricks, Wonderful Christmas Time is that while the same elf also knees you in the nards. It ought to be banned under the Geneva Convention.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:27 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


I can only abide so much Christmas music these days. To the point that I plan my shopping to avoid it as much as possible. With that said, I continue to find genuine joy in "In the Christmas Spirit" by Booker T and the MGs.
posted by goHermGO at 1:28 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another year, another Christmas music thread, another link to Tris McCall's definitive rundown.

and while you haters are over here slagging on Macca, I'll be simply having a wonderful Christmastime
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:29 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


from page 1 of the article Next, I’ll tell you the problems with each group
This is the most Internet sentence that can be written.
posted by theora55 at 1:29 PM on November 29, 2016 [22 favorites]


I like the built for the sea cover of Baby, It's Cold Outside. It's sung by a woman so it's more an internal narrative about her feelings than a creepy mccreeper song.
posted by winna at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2016


I was raised as a secular-Christmas-celebrating atheist but I just cannot with modern secular Christmas music. Maybe because I will perpetually be a bit of a tourist (despite the presents and the tree), I want the authentic experience. Modern Christmas music feels like going to Italy only to eat at the Olive Garden. I want that obscure, fiddly lacy pasta from Sardinia that they only feed to pilgrims and that only two old nonnas know how to make.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:30 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


This discussion is incomplete without Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite
posted by MengerSponge at 1:32 PM on November 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


Advent carols beginning the first Sunday of Advent (Nov 27 this year), Christmas carols for 12 days beginning December 25 plus Epiphany on Jan 6. Christmas decorations go up Dec 24th.

We usually have friends over to sing Advent hymns and carols sometime in December and then a 12th Night party on Jan 5th where we sing Christmas carols, mostly the neglected ones nobody got to sing earlier like "Past Three O'Clock," "In The Bleak Midwinter," the Gloucestershire Wassail, "Lo, How a Rose, E're Blooming," the Sussex Carol, "On This Day Earth Shall Ring," "Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light," and Peter Warlock's "Bethlehem Down."
posted by straight at 1:33 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


We also like to sing the New Oxford Book of Carols's conjectural reconstruction of the original tune to "The First Nowell." The familiar tune is weird, a single phrase repeated three times (with a bit of variation in the chorus) and ending on the 3rd of the scale. Some scholars suspect it is a half-remembered soprano harmony from a carol that had the melody in the tenor line.
posted by straight at 1:40 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


As I am Jewish, I will only listen to Christmas music written by Jews.

My dream in life is to get rich by selling the gentiles their holiday back to them. I've been saving reading my copy of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song for Christmastime (I got it last Christmas) so I'm excited to dig in and find out how it's done.
posted by griphus at 1:41 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Acceptable Christmas music:

* When it's an excuse for large quantities of sexual innuendo (especially when half of Barnes & Barnes is involved)
* When it's properly punked-out
* When it's a much-celebrated MeFi's Own cortex project
posted by delfin at 1:46 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been listening to the soundtracks of Christmas movies.


Lots of Elfman.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:51 PM on November 29, 2016


Also, don't tell anyone but I always put on this Merry Trekmas album first thing Christmas morning. Because I am a massive nerd and titles like "Away Team With Phaser" or "We Worf You A Merry Christmas" will never not be funny.
posted by comealongpole at 1:51 PM on November 29, 2016


There actually is a credible argument for an even more contemporary "Christmas classic" than Mariah Carey's entry - "I Wish It Was Christmas Today", as covered and given a update by Julian Casablancas, was originally a goofy and inexplicably endearing SNL bit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:53 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is just to say

I have listened to
the Christmas music
that was in
your iPod

and which
you were probably
saving
for Advent

Forgive me
it was treacley
so schmaltzy
and so trite
posted by tobascodagama at 1:59 PM on November 29, 2016 [14 favorites]


Dick: "Who needs Christmas anyway? I say bug humbar."
posted by komara at 2:00 PM on November 29, 2016


I'm a Canadian Purist, which means my tree can go up and my Christmas music can start right after the second Monday in October. In practice, the Christmas music might start then, but I often don't get around to doing the tree until the first week of November.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:03 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, are we playing what's the most depressing Christmas song, ever?

First Christmas, by Stan Rogers.

I win. Where do I pick up my prize, which I assume is a giant box of kleenex.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


'A Winters Soltice', Windham Hill.
Or anything twangy by Chet Atkins.
posted by clavdivs at 2:25 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


When should Christmas music start? Easy.

1. Christmas music must begin with Elvis.
2. Elvis will let you know when it's time.
3. Elvis is never wrong on that.

All you need to do is be listening for when Elvis speaks to you. And He will.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:25 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh, are we playing what's the most depressing Christmas song, ever?

Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
posted by Burhanistan at 2:27 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


No love for Jingle Bell Rock?

Yeah, really. It's to me like the perfect holiday ditty.

However, the best Christmas song is Count Your Blessings (not the movie version) but that's just me.

Now, about that
worst Christmas song of all this year: "Wonderful Christmastime."
It's actually not that bad, the Frank&Dino Marshmallow thing I keep hearing at Home Depot gets that prize from me, this season.
posted by Rash at 2:30 PM on November 29, 2016


Also as much as I have nothing but hate in my heart for Wonderful Christmastime, it's earth-shattering shittiness may be matched by fucking Christmas Shoes.

May whoever wrote that song be devoured by locusts. Slowly.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:35 PM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


i am moving away from being heavily liturgical, and only liking xmas music before 1900, because i want other people to be happy. But, I still love Tudor Carols more than anything else on earth. I also love the Cherry Tree CArol because its nuts.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is allowable because it can be played in a very melancholy manner. As for the rest, well, with the exception of All I Want for Christmas is You, all the songs are from the pre-boomer generation. (xkcd source).

I am actually a huge fan of the sacred music. And Good King Wenceslas and Silent Night. The rest is best served by rounding up all recording and sheet music and burning it in a giant yule fire. I'm a semi-purist just because of the annoyance the music can cause, but if you moved to only the great stuff, I'd be ok with it year round. (White Christmas might get a pass because of how it's featured in Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut.)

Tom Lehrer has a fantastic take on Christmas songs.

Of course, no one has mentioned the truly greatest Christmas song ever Christmas at Ground Zero by Weird Al.
posted by Hactar at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


In August.
posted by jonmc at 2:49 PM on November 29, 2016


I lost this game on Saturday when I heard the Crosby/Bowie version in a diner where I was eating.

But then I realized I could listen to the Dandy Warhols' version ALL I WANT NOW YAAAAAAY
posted by Lucinda at 2:51 PM on November 29, 2016


O Holy Night or GTFO
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:56 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm a fan of Santastic's mashups, though they don't seem to have any recent ones. Lot of obscure stuff mixed with non-Christmas music.

I hate Mariah Carey in every way imaginable.

Meh on Wonderful Christmastime. But our 2 All-Christmas-Format stations play it constantly, along with the same boring covers, every year. So I end up hating it after all.
posted by emjaybee at 2:56 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've always liked this wonderful Christmas/Mario mashup presented by OCRemix.
posted by wanderingmind at 2:57 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


No love for Jingle Bell Rock?

Only in Jingle Rock Bell form.
posted by maxsparber at 2:59 PM on November 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


Also as much as I have nothing but hate in my heart for Wonderful Christmastime, it's earth-shattering shittiness may be matched by fucking Christmas Shoes.

It's a song in which a filth-encrusted child blatantly manipulates a stranger into buying shoes for his mother so she can look hot for Jesus, whose imminent death, the stranger/narrator concludes, was ordained by God Himself to set into motion this sequence of events to teach him a lesson about not getting mildly irritated and fed up with holiday season annoyances. How can anyone not love Christmas Shoes? It's punk as fuck
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:02 PM on November 29, 2016 [6 favorites]


I love Christmas music and caroling. That said, there are Christmas songs I despise. Fa-la-la-la-nope, Holly-Jolly-I don't think so, Aaaaarggghhh_Rudolf, Jingle Hell, the Dreaded Drummer Boy.

Rock, bell, jingle is great. I am always happy to listen to it and have it banging around in my head because it's so perfectly MeFi.

The best Christmas music is Jo Stafford's Ski Trails; it's not Christmas music at all, it's winter music. This is a family thing; I don't expect you to understand.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, especially the old albums, are terrific for Christmas carols. Winndham Hill is lovely. time to break out the Christmas music.
posted by theora55 at 3:09 PM on November 29, 2016



Oh, are we playing what's the most depressing Christmas song, ever?

Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
posted by Burhanistan at 4:27 PM on November 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


This song makes me reliably laugh out loud at "tonight thank God it's them instead of you!" and at my own WTF misheard lyric: up until 4-5ish years ago, I sincerely believed that the ending refrain was "Jeeeesus, whoooooaaa" (it's actually "Saaaave the Wooorrlld"). So, this is one of very few Christmas musics not in my personal bucket of deplorables.
posted by Fig at 3:09 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


When? Whenever you want. It's your life. Play it when you want.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:14 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like old Christmas Carols, English and Celtic old stuff as well, "Twas in the Bleak Midwinter"
"The Holly and the Ivy" "I Wonder As I Wander" "Cherry Tree Carol" "Silent Night:, O Holy Night, What Child Is This" and really old Latin hymns and Gregorian chant. O Come O Come Emanuel for advent but I guess I am a semi-purist. Never decorate or get a tree (live tree) until two weeks before Christmas or less and it stays up until 12th night.

I pretty much dislike all "modern" Christmas music, I especially hate "Holly Jolly Christmas". A special version of hell is working in a retail establishment which I did for several years and having to listen to the same loop of "Jolly" Christmas and holiday music all day every day since Thanksgiving. Now some start after Halloween. I am in a church choir, and some years we are forced to sing the truly dreadful " Mary Did You Know?" Christian contemporary dreck. First line is "Mary did you know that your baby boy would someday walk on water...? Enough said!
posted by mermayd at 3:14 PM on November 29, 2016 [12 favorites]


It is never the right time to play Christmas Shoes.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:17 PM on November 29, 2016 [8 favorites]


My BFF and I have two contests going this year; the loser is the one who hears Wonderful Christmastime first (last year I think we both managed to go without hearing it once) and the winner is the one who hears Last Christmas first (a new tradition this year).

Also I hate all Christmas music with the exception of Bootsy Collins' album, Christmas is 4 Ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ-8TZTrpZE&list=PLeu2P2m5eLbMxYS5Z3CfCvIqXP024rBxE

posted by elsietheeel at 3:19 PM on November 29, 2016


There was an informal rule passed down from my maternal grandparents that Christmas music can't start til Thanksgiving. My mom is a huge Christmas music fan and will happily listen to it during a relaxing bath in July, as rebellion against her parents' strict rules, but I like the Thankgiving rule myself. And all music is fair game as of Thanksgiving.

I have three playlists - old school choral carols (hooray for The Sixteen and for the Kings College Choir), what I refer to as classic stuff but is really just the what my parents and grandparents listened to (Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, The Carpenters, etc), and my Christmas Party Playlist (Muppets Christmas songs and covers, anything that makes me think of Home Alone, Frosty the Snowman, The Snoopy/Red Baron Christmas song than makes me a bit sniffly whenever I hear it, You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch, etc). Things like the Nutcracker Suite, or Mannheim Steamroller or Trans-Siberian Orchestra are sprinkled throughout depending on my mood.

But I think my favorites are the old school carols that I like to imagine having been sung at Tudor Christmas Courts. I am atheist as they come, but the pull of my Anglo-Saxon Christian heritage is strong.

The worst one is Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." I can stand "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time", but that fucking Springsteen song comes on and off goes the radio.

Points for so-bad-it's-good go to the Chipmunks Christmas Song, and anything off of Neil Diamond's Christmas album, especially his version of White Christmas.
posted by olinerd at 3:22 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Our go-to Christmas album, other than the Peanuts one, is a Frank Sinatra/Bing Crosby joint that includes various little skits, including an advert for war bonds. Nothing says Christmas like war bonds!
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on November 29, 2016


 
   ___  ______   __        _______  _________   ____
  / _ )/ __/ /  / /    __ / /  _/ |/ / ___/ /  / __/
 / _  / _// /__/ /__  / // // //    / (_ / /__/ _/  
/____/___/____/____/  \___/___/_/|_/\___/____/___/  
   ___  ____  _______ __     _______  _________   ____
  / _ \/ __ \/ ___/ //_/ __ / /  _/ |/ / ___/ /  / __/
 / , _/ /_/ / /__/ ,<   / // // //    / (_ / /__/ _/  
/_/|_|\____/\___/_/|_|  \___/___/_/|_/\___/____/___/  
   ___  ____  _______ __  ___  ____  _______ __  ___  ______   __ 
  / _ \/ __ \/ ___/ //_/ / _ \/ __ \/ ___/ //_/ / _ )/ __/ /  / / 
 / , _/ /_/ / /__/ ,<   / , _/ /_/ / /__/ ,<   / _  / _// /__/ /__
/_/|_|\____/\___/_/|_| /_/|_|\____/\___/_/|_| /____/___/____/____/
                                                      
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:27 PM on November 29, 2016 [23 favorites]


No carols till December 1st.

Vince Guaraldi rules the roost.

Also, I clearly have no taste because while I know it is atrociously bad, I really do sorta love Wonderful Christmas Time. That terrible, awful, wonderful synth bullshit!
posted by tocts at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a kid, I had the Gene Autry Rudolph LP, and it was burned into my brain, so any of those songs sung by someone else just feels completely wrong.

Otherwise, yet another atheist for overserious sacred liturgical stuff. And Vince Guaraldi.
posted by LionIndex at 3:29 PM on November 29, 2016


Oh, are we playing what's the most depressing Christmas song, ever?

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone Cold White Christmas
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:30 PM on November 29, 2016


Working in retail for over a decade, I had to embrace the in store christmas music. It was a rollercoaster of feels; I passionately hated many of the songs and then I'd miss them come January.

I submit to you the ridiculous Christmas where the gum trees grow

Lyrics

Christmas Where the Gumtrees Grow,
there is no frost and there is no snow,
Christmas in Australia's hot,
cold and frosty's what it's not,
when the bloom of the jacaranda tree is here,
Christmas time is near


The jacaradas are in full bloom so...
posted by kitten magic at 3:36 PM on November 29, 2016


The only Xmas song for us. Unfortunately I do not know how to do a link.

"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwkVi35mLHo"
posted by notreally at 3:37 PM on November 29, 2016


If you'd just told me that Twisted Sister's Christmas album is absurdly good without my having heard it, I'd have never believed you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:50 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Feliz Navidad" is pretty good, but only my special version where all the Spanish parts are in English and all the English parts are also in English. Go ahead, try it out to yourself.
posted by snofoam at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a fan of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," but the U2 recording of same is strictly forbidden. I also have a weird fondness for the Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling."
posted by bgrebs at 4:00 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


1. Keep your religion in your church and out of everyone else's everywhere else.
2. Jingle bells are the worst bells.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:07 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I really like The Ronettes' Sleigh Ride, so everyone who doesn't is wrong and a bad person.

Also I have a place in my heart for Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song. It was the only Christmas album my parents owned when I was a kid and I love it unabashedly and sing the titular song to my daughter when I put her to bed this time of year.

Also every year I recommend Nick Lowe's really really good album Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family. Including but not limited to Christmas at the Airport.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


One year my father made a playlist that only consisted of assorted versions of Jingle Bells. The playlist had over 100 songs.
posted by Lycaste at 4:11 PM on November 29, 2016


Man, this thread is like a punitive Christmas stocking full of earworms instead of coal.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:22 PM on November 29, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm a good husband who keeps his wife's dark secrets, but hypothetically, I have a... friend whose wife cries like a baby at the Christmas Shoes. It's the uncontrollable, shameful crying of someone totally manipulated by maudlin dreck and it amuses...him no end.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:26 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


That Tim Minchin song about Christmas in Australia is pretty awesome, to my mind. "White Wine in the Sun."
posted by lauranesson at 4:37 PM on November 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


No love for "Il est née, le divin enfant?"
The Annie Lennox version is lovely.
posted by greermahoney at 4:38 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


That Tim Minchin song about Christmas in Australia is pretty awesome, to my mind. "White Wine in the Sun."

That. That is my fav Christmas song every year. I wish I could play it for my family, but they'd be offended. Sigh.
posted by greermahoney at 4:39 PM on November 29, 2016


I'm a semi-purist. I start the day after Thanksgiving and don't quit until December 26. I dislike a lot of schmaltzier stuff, but I grew up on Firestone's annual Christmas LPs. Christmas is the only time I can stand Johnny Mathis, and then only in extremely small doses. I dust off and load onto my phone my Narada Christmas Collection vol 1, all three Winters Solstice albums, most of what remains of my Mannheim Steamroller collection, Barbra Streisand's and Sarah Brightman's Christmas albums, and the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (though, to be honest, Vince Guaraldi is good any time of year). And the Nutcracker, because Tchaikovsky rocks.

However, the music epitome of the season is found in three songs:

John Lennon's "And So This Is Christmas"
ELP's "Father Christmas"
The Cory Band's "Stop The Cavalry"
posted by lhauser at 4:40 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I sincerely believed that the ending refrain was "Jeeeesus, whoooooaaa" (it's actually "Saaaave the Wooorrlld").

Oh, Fig. I got news for ya. You're *still* singing it wrong. It's "Feed the world." :-)
posted by greermahoney at 4:44 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


Two Australian christmas anthems you've probably never heard if you need some thing different.

Paul Kellly - How to Make Gravy

Tim Minchin - White Wine in the Sun

To everyone working retail this season, you have all of my love. In this instance, particularly because of the music you have to listen to on repeat.
posted by adept256 at 4:44 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't click any of those links because I'm participating in the "Little Drummer Boy" contest. My classical music radio station has started its sad gradual slide from Corelli and Jeremiah Clarke to classic carols to brass versions of "Winter Wonderland". I don't voluntarily listen to Christmas music until Christmas day and Vince Guaraldi.
posted by acrasis at 4:48 PM on November 29, 2016


Also... Pearl Bailey - 5 lb box of money.
posted by greermahoney at 4:51 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Modern Christmas music feels like going to Italy only to eat at the Olive Garden. I want that obscure, fiddly lacy pasta from Sardinia that they only feed to pilgrims and that only two old nonnas know how to make.


Then you want The Young Tradition!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:56 PM on November 29, 2016


RUN-DMC or GTFO
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:56 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


And now I'm a blubbering mess from listening to White Wine in the Sun. Again.
posted by greermahoney at 5:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


The only Christmas music that's acceptable here is the electronic Christmas anthem Achtung X-Mas (alt. the Sahne an der mos remix) by Lothar, Dieter, Rudi & Heinz in Kraftwerk Tyskarna Från Lund, and the 1980 anti-Christmas classic Det är inte snön som faller.
posted by effbot at 5:25 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oooh my god. Hahahhaha, thanks greermahoney.
posted by Fig at 5:26 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is allowable because it can be played in a very melancholy manner.

Nobody did it like Judy Garland.
posted by Lexica at 5:32 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


OMG that effing Christmas Shoes. KILL ME NOW
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:37 PM on November 29, 2016


Surely the song is better than the film.
posted by atoxyl at 5:46 PM on November 29, 2016


Classical/medieval = yes please (especially if I am employed to help sing it)

Gospel choir = hell yeah

Terrible awful shopping mall glurge = AVOID AVOID AVOID, KILL IT WITH FIRE
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:48 PM on November 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


What do you get a Wookie for Christmas?
posted by SyraCarol at 5:48 PM on November 29, 2016


When I am queen of the world, Malpas Wassail will go on the list of standards, because daaaaaaaamn.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:58 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't mind any Christmas song provided it's sung by Eartha Kitt.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:00 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are we playing what's the most depressing Christmas song, ever?

Here's my nomination for that playlist:

Finest Kind - Homeless Wassail

Fun Fact: The line "a bottle of ..." tends to morph naturally depending where you're from in Canada. Gin is in Ontario, where Shelly Posen, the author, is from. Rum for the maritimes. Rye for the west. Wine sometimes too. This just seems to happen in people's memory.
posted by bonehead at 6:29 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Next, I’ll tell you the problems with each group.

...except he then goes on to describe what's wrong with three of the four groups, and has only nice things to say about the remaining one. And surprise, surprise, guess which one he identifies with? Hint: like his religion, it's the one he grew up following.

Yes, very much a Bah-Humbugger here.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:55 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]



My BFF and I have two contests going this year; the loser is the one who hears Wonderful Christmastime first (last year I think we both managed to go without hearing it once) and the winner is the one who hears Last Christmas first (a new tradition this year).


I heard them both yesterday at the dentist :/

My only two Christmas music traditions are copious listenings of White Wine in the Sun (makes me cry every time) and at least five viewings of Patton Oswalt's take-down of Christmas Shoes, animated. Between the two of them they basically sum up all my feelings about Christmas.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:55 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is allowable because it can be played in a very melancholy manner.

Oh, like Tori's version?
posted by greermahoney at 6:59 PM on November 29, 2016


Then you want The Young Tradition!

Lemme just file that next to all my Martin Carthy albums. (Which is to say, yeah, you totally have my number.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:04 PM on November 29, 2016


Christmas in Killarney and Pansy Division's Homosexual Christmas really bring out the true meaning of the season for me: sodomy and the filthy Irish.
posted by dr_dank at 7:05 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


CeeLo Green's "This Christmas" has some nifty chord changes.

Every Christmas song is about Christmas, right? So the quality of the music has to be the tiebreaker.
posted by kurumi at 7:08 PM on November 29, 2016


Count me as one of the Jewish people who for a while resented Christmas music as part of this thing I could not have (mom was very adamant that I know Santa Clause isn't really at a young age, and there's no such thing as a Hanukkah bush) and will never play it of my own volition outside of a very exceptional cover. Now it's at about the same level as terrible pop music, but I'm very glad that Thanksgiving is generally the accepted cutoff date where I am. What has made the whole thing more fun is the Little Drummer Boy game which I only saw acrasis mention so far in this thread. I don't actually encounter a lot of Christmas music in my day-to-day, so I have won it one year. This time I'm planning to go to the mall at some point (with another Jewish friend) and I have a dentist appointment on the 20th, so that should make things interesting!
posted by j.r at 7:28 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm at a point in my life where only stuff like the instrumental holiday music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra is tolerated. And, only after December 1st. And even then, I'm kind of done with it. Since I'm no longer a Christian, I just don't want to hear most of it. Also, I used to work in a movie theater back in the day and we were forced by the regional manager to play the same Christmas CD for nearly 2 months straight every year at this time, with the same like, 20 terrible songs on it, over, and over, and over ALL DAY. Since I worked there for many years, what love I had for Christmas music was basically killed.

Also I agree - Wonderful Christmas Time makes me want to shove knives in my ears. That song is the fucking worst.
posted by FireFountain at 7:39 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's a hell of a lot of words to say "On headphones, in private."
posted by sourcequench at 7:46 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


My Christmas playlist is all over the damn map (and two of y'all have already said that you hate songs that are among my favorites, so chacon a son gout). I've got Bruce's Santa Claus is Comin' To Town and U2's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and "Christmas in Hollis" amid the rockin' stuff, along with "Fairytale of New York". I've also got a song off the Beach Boys Christmas album that my mother played incessantly when I was a kid, for nostalgia's sake. And a couple cuts off the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack because duh.

But then there's also Denis Leary's "Merry Fucking Christmas", and the Chieftains' "St. Stephen's Day Murders" which is a cheerful song about fantasizing about killing your family on Boxing Day because you've had it with all the togetherness and you're sick of everyone. And I also include Adam Sandler's "Hannukkah Song" and the Julian Casablanca cover of "I Wish It Was Christmas Today".

I also tend towards the quieter, medieval-y stuff as well - I've got a couple cuts off Sting's album, especially "Christmas at Sea" and
"Soul Cake"; the latter of which reminded me of a long-ago church concert my junior high choir was part of. I added some Great Big Sea and the Eels recently too.

I haven't had a full playing of the thing yet, but maybe this weekend...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:07 PM on November 29, 2016


I bought this a few years ago. Well worth the price.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:27 PM on November 29, 2016


I like the Bing-Bowie collaboration because it's so odd. I remember seeing the original version on TV when I was a little girl (and I didn't realize the pretty guy I saw on Soul Train almost 2 years before was also this pretty guy singing with ol' Bing. Kids, right? They don't know nuthin'), and I liked it more when I learned of the story behind why Bowie didn't sing The Little Drummer Boy with Bing. I hate that song, too.

December 1st it begins and is done December 26th—because then Christmas is over. I'm neither English nor Christian, so all that Boxing Day and 3 Wise Men stuff means nothing to me. But in between, I'm all about Vince Guaraldi, Bing/Ella/Sinatra/Eartha, and all sorts of old school R&B, like James Brown, The Jackson 5, and Donny Hathaway. Hathaway's This Christmas is the jam, though, any time of year.
posted by droplet at 8:31 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am entranced these days by Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" if only because I am baffled by how far Lake's voice has dropped in pitch since he first recorded it. Seriously, age and a heftier midsection cannot account for such a startling difference in register. I actually assumed the live version I have was a cover until I verified it was him.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:41 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Exhibit A: 1975.

Exhibit B: 2011.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:49 PM on November 29, 2016


MetaFilter, roughly 50% of you are my people! All the sacred music only folks, pre-1900 preferred, yes we are the righteous. The other 50% of you, who like Wonderful Christmastime, not so much dudes.

I'm usually something of a purist but this year is so shitty that I went for 'right after Thanksgiving' with absolutely no shame. Pandora has a Classical Christmas station and you can quickly train it to never, ever play music written in the 20th or 21st centuries. It's brilliant.

This year my favorite is "Gaudete". Anúna's Winter Songs is also pretty great in general.
posted by librarylis at 8:52 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


Like everyone else I have Opinions about this, but then, I also don't? For context I grew up in a very religious/fundamentalist Christian environment, which was in some ways strict like the "Liturgical Purists" here. But also very practical---being in Minnesota, we put up the lights very early, since that's when the weather was favorable. We just didn't turn them on until at least Advent.

Similarly, many of us in the family were involved in this or that musical group, Church or School or whatever, so we were always a season ahead. Christmas music started early for us because we had to practice. But then, so did Easter and everything else.

And there was sentimentality: the first snowfall, which was always well before December because, like I said, "Minnesota"; my Mom got in the mood and would put on Christmas music. Then not play it again until it was the proper season because that would be Just Wrong.

Meanwhile Dad, who listened to the radio constantly at work, would start grumbling as soon as every station switched over to their all-Christmas-music playlists for the season. And rightfully so, in retrospect, like so many who've already said as much in here, I prefer the sort of Christmas music that's centuries old, preferably in a minor key or some archaic mode, and with lyrics full of the dichotomy between death and hope. Something properly Christian and pagan and winter and human. You don't get much of that on the radio, at least on the analog regional radio of those days.

But I guess I don't mind so much, just because I spend so little time in places where I hear Christmas music piped-in against my will. A bureaucratic run-around at the hospital yesterday was the first time, I think. These days when I want to listen to Christmas music, it's from my own list, heavily drawn from last year's MeFi in fact.
posted by traveler_ at 9:11 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was subjected to Wonderful Christmastime for literally the very first time ever at the dollar store last week - I don't think I've ever felt such visceral repulsion to a piece of music before. I usually like to dawdle and poke around the shelves at my dollar store, but that day I nooooped right out of there as fast as humanly possible.

Anyway, for your consideration: Up on a Housetop with Sufjan Stevens.
posted by btfreek at 9:18 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a very simple formula:

James Brown's Funky Christmas
A Christmas Gift For You!
Where Will You Be Christmas Day?
And my favorite, the sublime, Vince Guaraldi "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

If you need to fill out the John Fahey Christmas record is pretty great
As is Motown Christmas
Throw in some gospel
A little jazz
Coctails and country
If you have to go old school:
There's lots of interesting old stuff, but this is best
Finish off with a few favorites--one explicitly about Christmas, the other maybe not so much.
posted by thivaia at 9:28 PM on November 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Jingle Bell Rock" may be sung joyously at any time of the year. So say we all.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:34 PM on November 29, 2016


The worst, weepiest carol is The Cat Carol. A friend of a friend introduced me to it by putting a link into the header of our channel and I clicked in unsuspecting innocence and ended up fucking sobbing. Worst.
posted by E. Whitehall at 10:51 PM on November 29, 2016


I would love Chrisamas music for brightening up my winter of seasonal depression if it wasn't for all...ALL the stores piping it like some sort of nostalgia-inducing fog just to sell me things. That being said, I love the more traditional stuff. Loreena Mckennit's in particular give me chills.
posted by branravenraven at 11:12 PM on November 29, 2016


> Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas is allowable because it can be played in a very melancholy manner.

Have Yourself is only allowable with the original lyrics. None of this "hang a shining star" bullshit.
posted by DebetEsse at 11:56 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


As I am Jewish, I will only listen to Christmas music written by Jews.

As an atheist, I have to admit I love Oy to the world by The Klezmonauts. That whole album is gold.

I can also recommend Soma FMs annual Xmas internet radio station Xmas in Frisco [NSFW], if you like a your Xmas music a bit different.
Warning: Mostly it's just a bit alternative but occasionally they play a hilariously NSFW song, which makes it risky to have on as background music when your family come to visit, I discovered.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 1:53 AM on November 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, the two absolute worst Christmas songs of all time are Run Run Rudolph and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree --- force me to listen to either and you risk serious bodily injury, at the very least.

(And while I enjoy Earth Kitt's Santa Baby, the only thing worse than Madonna's version is Taylor Swift's.... good lord but that's pure solid crap.)
posted by easily confused at 5:10 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


pls pretend I am a rotund British baritone, as it is who I imagine myself to be whenever I get to sing Good King Wenceslas.

I always sing it as that little bunny from Muppet Christmas Carol
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:14 AM on November 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


I read this thread last night and Wonderful Christmastime has been stuck in my head this morning.

Grr.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 6:06 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


A lot of Xmas Music is bad, but only erodes my soul like rain on marble -- which is to say, not much.

But the true horrors (e.g., Wonderful Christmastime, any version of Santa Baby, novelty tunes like Christmas Shoes or Santa Got Run Over by a Reindeer) make me scowl and leave me irritated. Stupid music.

I guess I am a Pre-1965 Purist for the most part, with a special exception for some recent albums like Butch Thompson's Yulestride and Bethlehem After Dark (same link), or The Believers.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:08 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


The note about "pre-1965" brings to mind another anecdote -

For YEARS, the only three Christmas albums that got played when I was a kid were the Beach Boys' album, Barbara Streisand's, and Johnny Mathis' album. And usually, only side 1 in all cases - Mom would stack all three on the turntable, and just let them play while she did things; when side 1 of Johnny Mathis had ended, the Barbara Streisand album or whatever was next would drop down and side 1 of that would start. Finally when I was about eleven, Mom decided she needed to shake it up a bit; and when we were out Christmas shopping there was a store that had the first Mannheim Steamroller album playing, and Mom thought "well, this is new and different, I'll get that," and we all loved it.

...For a year. By the time I was thirteen we were all sick of it and went back to Streisand/Beach Boys/Johnny Mathis, even though we were sick of them too (just not as aggressively so).

For nostalgia's sake, I include a song from the Beach Boys album and the Barbara Streisand one on my playlist. But not Johnny Mathis - that album was getting on my nerves already when i was only about seven.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


My birthday is at the beginning of December, so I've managed to get my wife and friends to wait until after that, at least in my presence.

Mine's in January. I wonder if I can beg for the same mercy.
posted by Mayor West at 6:40 AM on November 30, 2016


I love most Christmas music, but not until the day after Thanksgiving, and it can play all the way until New Years Eve.

Or this on a continuous loop.
posted by prepmonkey at 6:46 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Baby, It's Cold Outside is surely the most festive, fun date-rape song I've ever heard!

"Hey, what's in this drink?"

My fav part is when he begs her not to die in the weather because it would make him have the sadz. Well, sir, if you'd be sad, I guess I'll stay, then. It really is a garbage song. But so singable!
posted by greermahoney at 7:00 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


The biggest problem with Christmas music and season creep is that even good songs sound ugly and cloying when they're on high rotation every time you need to pick up a quart of yogurt. And then the season is spoiled by now-traditional War on (Non-Christians at) Christmas.

But, I have opinions as a music lover:

* "Santa Baby" is only acceptable if it's Eartha Kitt, who manages the right balance of mock innocence and sexuality.

* "Oh! Holy! Night!" is an inferior mainline/evangelical "Ave Maria," much abused by the congregation's semi-professional tenor with more fervor than sensibility.

* "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" is highly overrated, and is like nails on a blackboard on heavy repeat.

* As a Hoosier, I loathe Mellencamp's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," which inevitably got heavy radio play when I was living in the state.

* Novelty Christmas songs are rarely as clever as they think they are.

* Most arrangements of Greensleeves suck, which makes the Copper Street arrangement worth treasuring.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:07 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay: There have been a lot of articles categorizing "Baby It's Cold Outside" as a "date rape" song. However, most of them overlook the trope that "say, what's in this drink" was, at the time the song was written, a CYA cover for "I'm going to go on record as saying this so when I go ahead and do the naughty thing I want to do anyway I can have a cover story". There's also been some exhaustive articles defending the song from both historical and artistic contexts, and perspectives suggesting that it was actually kind of groundbreaking in equality for its time.

Opinions differ, of course, and you may still not be convinced, but dismissing it solely because of the "say, what's in this drink" line without taking the context into account is a bit reductive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on November 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


3rd-generation atheist here, but I love the classical carols, the more Medieval-y the better. My regular Xmas playlist also has Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi, Leontyne Price, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Also, have any of you Hamilton fans heard Leslie Odom Jr.'s new Xmas album yet?
posted by matildaben at 7:11 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Baby, It's Cold Outside is surely the most festive, fun date-rape song I've ever heard!

And now for our annual pedantry. It's not a date rape song, although, were it written nowadays, it would certainly be written to avoid the confusion. The song was written by Frank Loesser to be a duet with his wife Lynn Garland, apparently as something they would whip out at parties, and she was furious when Loesser sold the song. It's mean to be playful banter between a couple.

Even without knowing that, the song comes from an era when playing hard to get was actually a thing, and so the song serves as sort of plausible deniability, with the "mouse" (the two singers are called "wolf" and "mouse" in the sheet music; their genders are not specified) playacting at disinterest. But the mouse repeatedly tips his or her hat to being interested in the other party: Well, maybe just a half a drink more, Well, maybe just a cigarette more. Additionally, the mouse's complaints are not about the partner, but disapproving family members. The mouse is interested and charmed by the wolf, but afraid of what people will say.

This becomes more obvious when the genders of the wolf and mouse are reversed, as in the performance between Betty Garrett and Red Skelton. When the song is gendered as a man singing to a woman, it's really hard nowadays not to see it as bullying, but it genuinely was not meant that way.
posted by maxsparber at 7:15 AM on November 30, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'll make an exception on Christmas novelties for Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight), which gets points for honesty.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:19 AM on November 30, 2016


I mean, if we're going to get into Christmas oddities, I could go all night.

There's the strangely moving Even Squeaky Fromme Loves Christmas.
Momma, I've Got the Christmas Fever!
C-3PO and R2-D2 sing Sleigh Ride.
“Yingle Bells” by Yogi Yorgesson
“I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas,” Gayla Peevey

It's a Max Sparber obsession!
posted by maxsparber at 7:34 AM on November 30, 2016


I hope that Stephen Colbert will return to having Christmas carols like he did on the Colbert Report. I remember one episode in particular. Michael Stipe is sitting in his little shelf in the wall and he's joined by Stephen and Mandy Patankin to sing a truly wonderful Good King Wenceslas.
posted by Ber at 7:55 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love me some Christmas music, personal favorites are the obvious Charlie Brown, Phil Spector, James Brown, Elvis, Ventures, etc.
A few other favorites: Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody
Cyndi Lauper and The Hives Christmas Duel
John Prine's Christmas in Prison
posted by cottoncandybeard at 8:02 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also, everyone talks about Wonderful Christmastime and Happy Xmas (War is Over), but no one pays any mind to Ringo's Come On Christmas, Christmas Come On .
posted by cottoncandybeard at 8:17 AM on November 30, 2016


Sure, in the context of the sexual norms of 1944, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is a dialogue about how to negotiate consent with plausible deniability for the sake of maintaining appearances. In our contemporary context of pushy partners, visible PUA advocacy, and date rape, "playing hard to get" isn't something that many people feel comfortable with.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:18 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think we disagree on any of that.
posted by maxsparber at 8:20 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just want to thank you all for the gift of Jingle Rock Bell. It's made the occasional earworms of that godforsaken tune so much more bearable.

(Carols or GTFO, with the exception of Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses)
posted by corvine at 8:33 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


This thread has just reminded me how different my musical tastes are from most of Metafilter's. Give me your Taylor Swift, your George Michael. Give me any Jo(h)n: Bon Jovi, Mellencamp, or Elton. Hell, there's even a place in my heart for every ex-Beatle's corny holiday dreck.

The dull hymns and depressing ballads, though, those you can keep. Also the little fucking drummer boy. Pa-rum-pa-pum-go fuck yourself.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:44 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sure, in the context of the sexual norms of 1944, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is a dialogue about how to negotiate consent with plausible deniability for the sake of maintaining appearances. In our contemporary context of pushy partners, visible PUA advocacy, and date rape, "playing hard to get" isn't something that many people feel comfortable with.

Totally agreed. And also adding that it is this prior double-standard that has contributed to the whole rape-culture situation, precisely because it creates confusion about "but I thought that everyone knows girls always play hard to get". That data point may be something that the listener simply can't ignore.

However, there are those that do feel comfortable separating those two facts about the song in their own heads, and are able to enjoy the song as "a flirtatious moment between lovers" that just happens to be using arcane language. Both reactions to the song are equally valid, and neither one is any more "correct" than the other. I personally have always heard a tone of "the woman in this song knows exactly what she is doing and is doing exactly what she wants" and I'm okay with it; others will disagree and choose to listen to another song. As this thread has evidenced, the field of Christmas Music is broad and has lots of options for everyone.

There is, however, one Christmas song for which I WILL go to the mat - the Bruce Springsteen cover of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" is the best cover and if you disagree we must fight with knives on a hill in Weehawken.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anti-Purists

Anti-Purists LOVE the commercialization of Christmas, and are thus wary of Christmas music that is valued for being religious rather than valued for being good. They're probably atheists, but that doesn't stop them from enjoying a jam like Mahalia Jackson's version of Silent Night. Anti-Purists know there's about a bajillion Christmas songs out there, and that most people only love or hate the same 100 songs they play in a loop on that one radio station on your presets that without warning switches to Christmas music on Black Friday. Be warned: Anti-Purists will probably want to play you rockers like "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin" or "Back Door Santa", and will probably think the worst Christmas song is something like "Jesus is My Santa Claus".
posted by 23skidoo at 9:04 AM on November 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


183 comments and no "Christmas At K-Mart"? So disappointed.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:05 AM on November 30, 2016


I will admit to loving the Alligator Records Christmas Collection, all of which rocks and much of which is so wrong that it's right again.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:36 AM on November 30, 2016


There is, however, one Christmas song for which I WILL go to the mat - the Bruce Springsteen cover of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" is the best cover and if you disagree we must fight with knives on a hill in Weehawken.

I'll go ahead and let that favorite I threw down stay. But I must voice my disapproval of this last sentence.

I've packed my knives. Which hill?
posted by cooker girl at 10:28 AM on November 30, 2016


I thank you all for Jingle Rock Bell. I now have a new Christmas classic.

I made this list a few years ago, Christmas songs that are either silly covers, great originals, or very obscure. Of interest to Mefites might be Pomplamoose's "Always In The Season", Tim Minchin's "White Wine in the Sun", and Kyle Broflovski's "The Lonely Jew On Christmas".
posted by numaner at 11:11 AM on November 30, 2016


ha, should've scanned the thread, looks like we're all fans of White Wine in the Sun here.
posted by numaner at 11:20 AM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


A few years ago, my partner and I were driving to his grandmother's house on Christmas Day, and caught a miraculously clear signal from WCBN, the student radio station at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Among the many obscure and vintage Christmas treasures we caught was "Santa's Secret"* by Johnny Guarnieri & Slam Stewart. Play it at your next Christmas Pageant or family get-together!



*-the secret is that santa's smoking reefer, santa's smoking tea
posted by palindromic at 12:54 PM on November 30, 2016


Artw: "Our go-to Christmas album, other than the Peanuts one, is a Frank Sinatra/Bing Crosby joint that includes various little skits, including an advert for war bonds. Nothing says Christmas like war bonds!"

Everybody out there been good, or what? Oh, that's not many, not many, you guys are in trouble out there!
posted by Chrysostom at 1:08 PM on November 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


A competitor for "Oh Holy Night": "Go Tell It On The Mountain".
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:48 PM on November 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Empress. I'll agree with everything except your last paragraph.
:-)
posted by greermahoney at 7:37 PM on November 30, 2016


ll I Want For Christmas Is You
Mele Kalikimaka
Last Christmas
Little Drummer Boy
Happy Christmas (War is Over)
Do They Know It's Christmas
Carol of the Bells
Christmas in Hollis

This is my list of good, if not great, Christmas songs. All else is probably nauseating.
posted by zardoz at 10:42 PM on November 30, 2016


What properties make a Christmas song "good"?

The quality of being unlike "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time," objectively the Worst Christmas Song.

But other than that, all Christmas songs that refer to things that ordinary people no longer have experience with, and thus can no longer be honestly said to have any affection for those things. So: mentioning sleigh bells jingling, or boughs of holly, or chestnuts cracking over an open fire, or horses at all, or, in about fifty years, anything having to do with snow.

Baaaaah humbug!
posted by JHarris at 1:37 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or there's the song that follows, which I was saving up for this year's MST3K No-Guilt Christmas Marathon, but is too awful not to share now.

1974: Rankin Bass, before they ground their yuletide holiday special cash cow down, produced one of their more beloved Christmas specials, The Year Without a Santa Claus, featuring memorable appearances by the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser.
2008: Warner Bros. Animation produces a sequel to the story, A Miser Brothers Christmas, also in stop-motion.

But between the two....

2006: A Year Without a Santa Claus, a live action special that discarded most of the original material in favor of glitzy singing dancing musical numbers. So, here is the Miser Bros. song as you've never seen it before... with a couple of troops of scantily-clad dancing girls flouncing around Harvey Fierstein and Michael McKean. IMDB.

(We may put that special in in its entirety if I can find it uncut, John Goodman plays Santa Claus!)
posted by JHarris at 1:49 AM on December 1, 2016


Every Christmas song is about Christmas, right?

No, the good ones are about angels, drunken carousing, thorns, livestock, St. Nicholas, staying up all night, myrrh, breast feeding the baby Jesus, the furious wolf, loud boisterous noises, sharing food with hungry people, death, peace, compassion, gratitude, hope. The terrible ones are about Christmas itself instead of any of the things Christmas is celebrating.

"It's Christmas! Christmas is a time to sing about how great Christmas is!"
posted by straight at 1:53 AM on December 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


Hell, 'Jingle Bells" may not even be about Christmas at all. It's just "yay, sleigh riding is fun!" There's a bunch of songs that we think of as "Christmas music" that are more about "winter" - "Winter Wonderland", or "Sleigh Ride", for instance. They just get played around now because Christmas comes in the beginning of Winter when everyone is still starry-eyed over snow being pretty and stuff. If Christmas was in January, you may not hear "Winter Wonderland" as often because everyone would start to be getting "fuck this i've had to shovel the driveway six times already".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


LOOK SHOVELING IS GOOD EXERCISE AND IF YOU GET THE EXTRA HANDLE THINGY IT'S NOT EVEN HARD ON YOUR BACK BUT LIKE ANY EXERCISE YA GOTTA KNOW WHEN TO TAKE IT EASY SO YOU DON'T POP A BLOOD GASKET BUT STILL GOOD EXERCISE AND IT SERVES A PURPOSE NOT LIKE RIDING A FAKE BIKE THAT GOES NOWHERE

but I will admit that shoveling the end of the driveway where the plows have piled up all the refrozen slush kinda blows
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:12 AM on December 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sleigh bells are now a key part of any large percussion kit these days.

Of course, a percussion kit these days includes about half of a hardware store. Especially if you're Tom Waits.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:43 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


In other words, sleigh bells are the wintertide cowbell.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:58 AM on December 1, 2016


Especially if you're Tom Waits.

And I often am!
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:10 AM on December 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


As seems to happen every year, once again I feel compelled to post the best song ever written about Texas, which also happens to be a Christmas song. Robert Earl Keen's "Christmas with the Family".

Readers, I have lived this song. In fact, these people were my in-laws for a number of years.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:17 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Bonafide Grinch here. Christmas music makes me all stabby.

But a few years ago, on a forced trip to a shopping mall, I learned how to deal with terrible Christmas music. Yes, even "Wonderful Christmastime." Now I am immune to its annoyance, and I'm going to give you the power to be immune to it as well.

In your mind, imagine that the song you are currently being annoyed by is being sung by a chorus of A- and B-list celebrities for some kind of hokey charity event, and that the lead singer is an enthusiastic but painfully out-of-key Arnold Schwarzenegger.

No, seriously. Do it right now.

You see?
posted by gauche at 11:38 AM on December 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


gauche: Still doesn't help "Wonderful Christmastime," I"m sorry.
posted by SansPoint at 4:35 PM on December 1, 2016


I heard 'Wonderful Christmastime' yesterday, and thought of the upthread comments about how thinking of Paul McCartney goofing around with his synthesizer makes the song enjoyable.

I can attest, thinking of a super-stoned PMcC jabbing away.at a synth, humming a melody, and nonstop giggling about how much money he's about to make from this crap increases the song's tolerability quite a bit.
posted by Fig at 5:01 PM on December 1, 2016


Can't believe no one's mentioned Jackson Browne's Rebel Jesus -- one of the few not-a-hymn Xmas songs that's worth listening to. Of course it never gets played, because it's a powerful indictment of commercial Xtianity and capitalist Xmas.
posted by adrienneleigh at 8:42 PM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I blame you all for the fact that I had Jingle Rock Bell stuck in my head on my entire bike commute to and from work the other day, when my Christmas music tastes are generally rather more along the lines of the purist variant described in the "Two plants..." link.

It could have been far, far worse, though; it could have been Jingle Bell Rock!
posted by ubersturm at 9:09 PM on December 1, 2016


Carbon Leaf -- Red Punch Green Punch is a wonderful track if you've ever had traditional family gatherings that never change.

(Really the whole album that is off of is wonderful. Not a single traditional carol, nothing religious, just an appreciation of the season.)
posted by hippybear at 2:51 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can attest, thinking of a super-stoned PMcC jabbing away.at a synth, humming a melody, and nonstop giggling about how much money he's about to make from this crap increases the song's tolerability quite a bit.

I hate "Wonderful Christmastime," but I will say that image does delight me. Elvis' "Blue Christmas" remains the worst for me -- and I like Elvis. It's the "Little Surfer Girl" of Christmas music.
posted by gladly at 10:54 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Aw, "Red Punch Green Punch" is sweet. And I'm not just saying that because I am heading towards being one such Great Aunt myself.

In my family's case it was a glass bowl of chocolate coffee beans and a big bucket o' popcorn as opposed to the silver dish of mints and peanuts that my own aunt put out. She also collected childrens' picture books about Christmas and had them scattered throughout the house on end tables everywhere, and I thought that was a lovely idea and I've done that myself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on December 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nutcracker Suite 24/7 or nothing

As someone who would be rehearsing for Nutcracker performances from around mid-October back in the bunhead days, I'm just noping the everliving hell out of this.

Also (usually found tinnily echoing out of mall speakers) bad versions of the Sugar Plum Fairy's variation sound freaking psychotic and make my right eye twitch uncontrollably.
posted by romakimmy at 11:36 AM on December 2, 2016


Trippy random Tchaikovsky is the best.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on December 2, 2016


Trippy Random Tchaikovsky would be an excellent album name. It's too twee for a band name.
posted by hippybear at 11:53 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


In fact, Daft Punk just called....
posted by hippybear at 11:53 AM on December 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nutcracker Suite 24/7 or nothing

Don't limit yourself to the Suite -- it's all good.
posted by Rash at 9:33 PM on December 2, 2016


Couple rewrites 'Baby It's Cold Outside' to emphasize importance of consent

(Soundcloud file)

I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that
I've got to go away/Baby I'm cool with that
This evening has been/Been hoping you get home safe
So very nice/I'm glad you had a real good time
My mother will start to worry/Call her so she knows that you're coming
Father will be pacing the floor/Better get your car a-humming
So really I'd better scurry/No rush.
Should I use the front or back door?/Which one are you pulling towards more?
The neighbors might think/That you're a real nice girl
What is this drink?/Pomegranate La Croix
I wish I knew how/Maybe I can help you out
To break this spell/I don't know what you're talking about
I ought to say no, no, no/you reserve the right to say no
At least I'm gonna say that I tried/you reserve the right to say no
I really can't stay/...Well you don't have to
Baby it's cold outside
I've got to get home/Do you know how to get there from here
Say, where is my coat/I'll go and grab it my dear
You've really been grand/We'll have to do this again
Yes I agree/How 'bout the Cheesecake Factory?
We're bound to be talking tomorrow/Text me at your earliest convenience
At least I have been getting that vibe/Unless I catch pneumonia and die
I'll be on my way/Thanks for the great night

Bye! Drive safe!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:48 AM on December 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


Followed by a guitar solo and then a coda in which she's died from hitting black ice on her drive home and now she's his angel he will always be haunted by.

Offer her the couch, ferchris'sake!
posted by hippybear at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I completely missed this post and found my way here by Comealongpole's comment (thanks). Christmas for me begins when I start hearing one of the first single's I bought, back in 1980, to the extent that have just done an FPP about it: Jona Lewie's Stop the Cavalry.
posted by Wordshore at 6:36 AM on December 6, 2016


Daily Dot: These are the 10 worst Christmas songs.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:29 PM on December 13, 2016


I lost The Little Drummer Boy game, btw. Bah humbug.
posted by j.r at 7:19 PM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Woo hoo! I didn't know until this minute that I was in the running! Suck it, loosers!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:13 PM on December 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dang all of your hides. Dang them. Dang the hide of the whole entire universe.

I was just looking at my recent activity and was like, "Hah, that sucker thinks he's winning, but little does he know that this is my year to win the Little Drummer Boy game. Must suck to be one of those losers who is going to lose."

And a few short minutes later, while the page was still up in a different tab, I LOST. Seriously. It wasn't even ten minutes.

And it wasn't even in a normal way, either, because of any kind of current programming. My husband has been slow-binging The West Wing on Netflix, and it's just a coincidence that he hit a Christmas episode featuring a children's chorus while I just happened to be in hearing range making plans for my victory celebration when I win Little Drummer Boy Game.

Well, at least I won the "Most ridiculous way to lose The Little Drummer Boy Game" game.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:21 AM on December 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


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