I know I’m adding to the noise with these posts. Every year, people post the “best” and “worst” holiday classics. But there are some songs that, though I *know* they’re terrible, I still like them and still sing along when they come on the radio.
So, presented in no particular order, is my “eggnog” list–they’re not for everyone, but every once in a while, they’re enjoyable during the Christmas season. (You can make your own joke about needing the “special” eggnog to enjoy them.)
“Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime,” by Paul McCartney
The case against it: First, take everything remotely awesome about 80’s synth music. Okay, ready? Now smash it with a candy cane until it’s completely unrecognizable and repulsive. Once you’re done with that, let it rot for about a year, and then set it on fire. Put out the flames with old pondwater, and then smother it with about 15 gallons of watered down vanilla frosting. What you’ll have will still be more palatable than this turd, produced by one-fourth of the greatest band of the twentieth century.
The video is frightening and may in some subconscious way be intended to dissuade kids from doing drugs during the holidays. The disembodied piano-playing hands and the star people freak me out. At about 1:45 into the video, the Spanish Inquisition shows up (unexpected, natch). There’s duelling Pauls, some kind of fire, angels vandalizing buildings. I’m giving you the high points here.
Why I like it: Okay, all of that is true. But the Jars of Clay version is great. And that makes me like the song.
“I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas,” by Gayla Peevey
The Cast Against It: The girl sounds like her vocal coach was Ethel Merman. (Is that too obscure a reference these days?) The oompah-oompah of the band can be grating. And the song is, admittedly, stupid.
Why I Like It: This song is fun to sing loudly and in an exaggerated manner. Plus, Gayla’s singing reminds me of Dinah from “The Philadelphia Story” singing “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.”
“Christmas All Over Again,” by Tom Petty And the Heartbreakers
The Case Against It: Tom Petty’s annoyingly nasal voice.
Why I Like It: Tom Petty’s annoyingly nasal voice. I enjoy singing the song like that and really playing that up. (Just like with Bob Dylan. Speaking of which…)
“It Must Be Santa,” by Bob Dylan
The Case Against It: This song is terrible, with a capital TERR. It should not exist. Dylan’s voice is almost gone, and it hurts to listen to him strain to keep up with the maddeningly fast tempo. The video makes no sense, and all it tells me is that Bob Dylan is some kind of evil teleporting wizard.
Why I Like It: It’s fun to sing like Bob Dylan. And the tune is bouncy and infectious. The song just sounds like a party. Everyone singing along, everyone laughing. You’ve just got to give yourself over to the goofiness of it. And pass the eggnog.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You,” by Mariah Carey
The Case Against It: I’ve noticed an up-tick in the hatred for this song, which I can only attribute to its being overplayed (and Mariah Carey not accepting that she’s aged almost 20 years since this song came out, and still dresses inappropriately for…any age, really). It’s sappy, sure. It’s a little too love-songy to be a classic and lasting Christmas tune.
Why I Like It: It’s fun to sing. It’s sweet. MC had a great voice in this era. And, though I am loathe to admit it, I had a bit of a crush on her in high school. So I guess this track just holds a soft spot in my heart. What can I tell you?
Your Turn: What are your Christmas-themed “guilty pleasure” songs–songs that are so bad they’re good? Songs that you know everyone hates but you secretly enjoy? Post them below!