Thanskgiving's coming--so get ready for some real turkeys! And I don't mean the tasty kind that will be on your plate. I mean some Extremely Annoying Christmas tunes that the airwaves will be permeated by between Turkey Day and Dec. 26. And if you're unlucky, you'll still hear them after that, at stores where they haven't gotten around to changing the Muzak.
You've heard them every year for 20, 30, 40, or more years. There's no escaping them--your area probably has at least one radio station that goes to an "all Christmas, all the time" format at this time of year. And if you keep your radio off the way I do except for talk radio you'll still hear them in stores or on TV.
These songs may have been cute or pleasant the first few holiday seasons you heard them--but now that you've had to hear them for so long, you can hardly wait for Dec. 26. You may be Chris or Christine Kringle--but constantly being subjected to these Extremely Annoying Tunes will make you feel like Scrooge or the Grinch--or that dreaded combination I've labelled the "Scrinch."
Worst of all, some are so catchy they'll pop into your head at the worst moments--like Valentine's Day. Imagine a romantic interlude with your special someone--and "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" pops into your head--and just won't leave!
So here are some Extremely Annoying Christmas tunes. All but one are performed by members of the species Homo Sapiens, except for the following, with which I'll be starting off...
- Woof Woof Woof--or "Jingle Bells" performed by the Singing Dogs. And I'll add that if any other non-human species are out there performing "Jingle Bells" they're included in this category. In 1971* when this song first came out (is it really that new? It seems older!) it must have been the cutest thing--now those dogs are so Extremely Annoying you want to muzzle them! Their song is worse than their bite!
- Alvin and the Chipmunks' (David Seville's)"The Chipmunk Song, Christmas Don't Be Late." The cartoonish sound of the human voices played at the wrong speed combined with bad, saccharine lyrics make up an Extremely Annoying composition guaranteed to make you toss your Christmas cookies!
- "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms. Cheesy attempt to capitalize on the relatively new (back then) popularity of rock. From 1958* this song is almost as old as I am. The Extremely Annoying melody and lyrics make me say "Bah Humbug!" And...
- Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is almost the same old song and dance as "Jingle Bell Rock". Where's the Grinch when you need him?
The following is actually quite a good song--I'm just sick of this version:
5. "Frosty the Snowman" by the Ronettes. For a change, I'd like to hear it performed by someone other than the Ronettes. Having to hear their rendition year in and year out has gotten to be Extremely Annoying.
- Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad". Now this is different--whether you speak English, habla espanol, or are bilingual, this will be Extremely Annoying in two different languages!
The next few are all by well-known classic rockers. For some reason, rock doesn't usually translate well into Christmas music. Or the Christmas sound ("jingle bells," children's choruses) doesn't make good rock. I guess I should define the bad tunes by first describing a couple of classic rockers' Christmas songs I actually like: the Eagles' "Please Come Home for Christmas" and Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas." And I'm not even an Elvis fan! I think what I like about these two songs is that both are straightforward melodies--no "jingle bells" or any of those other fancy Christmas touches, and neither has cutesy nauseating lyrics either.
But now for the bad ones:
- "Happy Christmas" by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and a children's chorus. I liked it back in the 70's when I first heard it--but now.....That Extremely Annoying children's chorus can be horrifically hard to dislodge from one's head!
And another by an ex-Beatle:
- Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." Way too many of those "jingle bells"--which as noted don't mix well with rock.
The sad thing is, these artists are (actually in Lennon's case, were) so good otherwise, this Extremely Annoying dreck was a waste of their talents. Which is also true for the following:
- "Step Into Christmas" by Elton John. Most of Elton's stuff is excellent--but he shouldn't have tried a Christmas song. Or at least this one! The bad lyrics and melody (too fast to make a good Christmas song) make listening to "Step Into Christmas" about as pleasant as stepping into something left behind by one of Santa's reindeer. Extremely Annoying.
- "Little Saint Nick," by the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys' "surf music" sound doesn't lend itself well to the "sleigh music" sound. Nauseatingly cloying lyrics include this Extremely Annoying gem:
Run run reindeer! Run run reindeer!
Now for something else nauseatingly saccharine:
11. The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling." Is it any wonder that she succumbed to an eating disorder? Extremely Annnoying songs like this must have ruined her appetite by permanently turning her stomach.
- "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by anybody. Bad lyrics including a line I've made more than a few bad puns out of (I'll let you figure out what it is!) and the fact that I've heard it for so many years make this one Extremely Annoying.
Last but not least, the mother (Or maybe I should say "grandmother!") of all Extremely Annoying Christmas songs:
- "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" by Elmo & Patsy. This act is what's known as a one-hit wonder for good reason--this turkey! I was interested to read in my source* that
"Elmo also practices part-time as a veterinarian.
Wonder if he treats reindeer? The same source also says this awful tune first came out in 1983 which surprised me because it seems like it's been around much longer. That's how Extremely Annoying it is.
I'm sure this isn't a complete list--for example, I left out the various Christmas advertising jingles one is subjected to at this time of year, because I brought up such Christmas ads the other day in Extremely Annoying Commercials But there's a new one I can't stand I thought I'd mention because I hadn't brought it up there--the Hyundai spot where they keep singing "Duh." But anyway, hope this list gets you in the holiday spirit!
*All dates and trivia from the book Joel Whitburn's Pop Singles.