This time of year the music on the radio changes somewhat. In addition
to the usual mix of lite rock swill, there's an increasing mix of seasonal
music. You've got traditional classics that have come back from the vault
every year since just after the dawn of time, and then there's the Christmas
pop-music. Thing is, a lot of this Christmas pop music is pretty lame.
That doesn't mean that you don't want to listen to it, because hey, it's
Christmas and you're in the mood to hear it, but that doesn't make it
good music. Much of it is pretty tacky. That said, I'm going to revel
in said tackiness, and judge it for its merits. That's right, as per the
title I'm doing a Good/Bad/Ugly rating of tacky Christmas Songs.
"Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney:
Easily one of the worst Christmas songs ever recorded, this is so bad
as to be a contender for worst song by a former Beatle (But frankly George
Harrison, may he rest in peace, took the prize with "Got My Mind
Set on You"). It's repetitive, inane, poorly written, and really,
really wrong. Naturally I like it a lot, although I find it incredibly
hard to believe that the same ex-Beatle who recorded "Live and Let
Die" and "Band on the Run" recorded this. As much as I
like this song, any song that actually features the lyrics 'ding dong,
ding dong' is by default Bad.
"Mary Had a Baby" by Bruce Cockburn: I've
been informed that this song is traditional Negro spiritual from the American
South but the only version I've ever heard is Bruce Cockburn's. And after
reading the lyrics I can certainly tell why. This song is awful. If you
haven't heard it, it does something like this: "Mary had a baby (My
Lord), Mary had a baby (Ah my Lord), Mary had a baby (My Lord), the people
keep coming but the train has gone." Repeat this with predictable
verses like "Shepherds heard the singing" and "Star keeps
shining" and the somewhat unexpected "Jesus went to Egypt"
and "Traveled on a donkey" and of course the bit about the train
each time. What exactly an overloaded train has to do with Christmas is
beyond me. Bruce Cockburn may be a talented musician and a superb songwriter,
but he didn't write this, and it's Ugly.
"Mary's Boy Child" by Boney M: Another
in the genre of old songs covered by popular musicians, this one is somewhat
better than most. Boney M, a 70s Euro disco band that most of you have
never heard of, is probably best known for their amusing lesson in Russian
history "Rasputin." Go download that for a laugh. But about
this song, it's actually about as good as an old Christmas song covered
by a 70s Euro disco band can get, which is surprisingly Good.
"Christmas Coming to the USA" by the SNL
players: Look, it's the Song of the Month! This amusing little ditty has
actually been played 5 times on SNL, and each time it's been bit different.
Each time it's been quite amusing. It's best appreciated live on TV, with
Horatio Sanz singing and playing ukulele, Jimmy Fallon running the keyboard,
Chris Kattan holding the keyboard, and Tracy Morgan dancing. It's one
of the best running items on SNL these days. Go download it now (search
for "SNL Christmas Coming to the USA" on your file share program
of choice) if you haven't already. I naturally think it's Good.
"Ay Ay Ay It's Christmas" by Ricky Martin: The first
clue this song stinks should be that it's on the tripe-laden Another Rosie
Christmas. The second clue would be that it's sung by Ricky Martin. The
third clue would be the title. Ay Ay Ay It's Christmas? What kind of song
title is that? And the fourth clue would be the lyrics. "Ay ay ay
it's Christmas and I don't know what to do. Ay ay ay it's Christmas and
I don't have a gift for you." Well Ricky, if you spent more time
planning ahead and less living la vida loca, you wouldn't be in this predicament,
now would you? According to all the women I've consulted, Ricky Martin
is seriously handsome, but this song is just Ugly.
If you're looking for more reviews of tacky Christmas songs, check out
More Tacky Christmas Songs and Even
More Tacky Christmas Songs.