Tis nearly the time of year when goodwill and serene tranquillity overfloweth and everyone is full of good cheer and eggnog. Engaging, quaint and ragged urchins gather to sing carols in pitch-perfect harmony. The snow lays crisp and deep and Jack Frost nibbles at deliciously exposed, pink and plump nether regions…….
And then we have the obligatory Christmas song release. How could we endure the season without ‘Snoopy’s Christmas song’ or the dulcet tones of Cliff Richard as he belts out ‘Mistletoe and Wine’. A time when every crooner, past and present, hits the music scene with a Christmas song, hoping to catch the mug punter with deep pockets and nostalgia in their hearts. Although there have been a few memorable Christmas inspired tunes, the majority are just hastily cobbled together crap replete with banal predictable lyrics allied with ridiculous and hackneyed, sentimental tunes of sick, syrupy mulch. For every Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas' there are 1,000 forgettable melodies. Do you recall the engaging: ‘Santa Claus Has Got the Aids This Year’ by the late lamented, Tiny Tim? Of course, you don’t- the whole effort was a pathetic attempt to cash in on the weirdly eccentric and pathetic, Tiny Tim.
So in the gentle spirit of Christmas, I would like to nominate my top five piss awful Christmas refrains. I’m quite aware that the selection is in some way arbitrary and prone to my own bizarre brand of subjective taste. In fact, there are so many bad Christmas songs that compiling a worthwhile list is virtually impossible. A music nerd, in 2014, scoured the song catalogues and came up with 914,047 tracks of Christmas themed songs. I’m sure the current inventory is in excess of a million and the vast majority will be complete and utter dross.
5. Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte
The lyrics to this particularly annoying song are pure unadulterated crap accompanied by a tune that will stick in your head turning your brain into spaghetti. Moma Mia!
4. This Christmas (I'll burn it to the ground)
The only saving grace of this cacophony is that it panders to my sick proclivity for 'burning stuff' and underlying nihilism. Other than that it is utter and absolute shite. At least you won't carry this tune in your head once the 'music' stops. Although to be fair I couldn't listen to this all the way to the end.
3. Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard
This list must contain at least one of Harry Webb's Christmas warbles. Our Cliff has knocked out 17 festive songs in his long career. Once touted as
Britain's answer to Elvis Presley back in the 50s and early 60s he quickly morphed into the saccharine 'Peter Pan' of pop. Grandmas loved him and everyone else detested his smug self-righteous persona. I'm starting to digress. My own particular nemesis is 'Mistletoe and Wine'. A sticky sweet tune backed with trite lyrics. A mismatch of pagan 'Mid-Winter Festival' with supposed Christian sentiment.
2. Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney
I must confess, I’m not a fan of Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles work. And let’s be honest, ‘Wings’ were piss poor. Do you think Paul employed his wife in the band because she was an exceptional musician? Tis a wonder he didn’t put his dog on bongos. My particular nip of venom is reserved for the simpering sweet bubble-gum number, ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’. Here is a judicious selection of the insipid caramel lyrics: “The party’s on, the feeling’s here that only comes, this time of year”. Perhaps I’m being a tad unfair to the man who wrote ‘Yesterday’, but the jarring muzak quality of the melody has me reaching for the petrol and matches.
At last, we come to my personal choice for worst Christmas song. Many are called, but only one is chosen.
1. Do they know its Christmas
This may be a controversial choice. Those amongst you may aver that there are worse jingles out there jangling with discord on the harmonic waves. And of course, you would be right. Tis all a matter of criteria and I confess that I have not applied any stringent or consistent filter process. This list comprises those wretched songs which grate and gnaw at my very fibre. After masticating fully they spit the remnants on a bright white canvas. A pristine canvas despoiled and left sullied with ochre blotches of doom…..
Some will rave that the sentiment behind the enterprise was laudable and helped to raise money for
Africa’s starving, seething masses. But when has sending gelt to Africa done any good? Most likely the aid will end up in the sticky fingers of the local War Lord/Chief/local corrupt government officials/Despot. And when has largesse ever been a sustainable manner to provide a stable economic base for a country? Surely this is a job for the elected government to address?
The original line up contained the ‘scourge of god’, Bob Geldof and Bono and a hastily thrown together line of, musicians of the time. The lyrics are predictably nauseating and reek of paternalism - what more needs to be said?