Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas Music Rant: Just Indulge Me, Please!!


It's nearly over.  But before anyone calls me a Scrooge, indulge me, please.  Just lighten up, 'cause this little rant comes from 30 years of retail and having to fight the wars of some of the worst of the worst of shoppers who, well, you know what they do...

But this isn't about that.  This is about Christmas music.  At work we listen to the same loop of songs played through infinity, it seems, from early November until after Christmas.  This year's selection had to have been selected from the worst of karaoke night.

And online today, there is an article by Paul Grein on a music blog called "Chart Watch" that talks about the "top-selling holiday song of all time," and how it "beats out seasonal classics from Bing Crosby and Burl Ives".

The song?  "All I Want For Christmas Is You."

The artist?  Mariah Carey.  Oh puleeze.....stab me with a Magic Marker.

First and foremost, I'd rather scratch all 10 fingernails on a black board than to listen to the warbling, yodeling, 30 octave screeching of Mariah Carey.  Ya know, just SING.  Stop with the vocal acrobatics, already!  And if  you can vocally reach octaves that don't exist, DON'T!

Fact of the matter is this:  According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, the number one selling Christmas song of all time is "White Christmas" by good 'ol Bing, with estimated worldwide sales in excess of 50,000,000 copies.

Mariah?  1,794,000 downloads, more copies than "any other holiday song in digital history," according to Mr Grein.

Ha!  I knew it!  Digital smidgital!  Downloads! Who cares?

So here's my not so humble opinion about what artists and/or Christmas songs should NOT be played ever again:

1.  Mariah Carey.  Nuf said.
2.  Any song by pre-pubescent Michael Jackson.  Just creepy.
3.  Bruce Springsteen.  I mean, who told that man he could sing in the first place?
4.  The song "Santa Baby".  By any artist.  Rated R.
5.  The song "All I Want For Christmas Is An Alien" by Fountains of Wayne.   Huh?
6.  No Christmas "music" from ANY rap artist, Beyonce, or TLC.  Period.
7.  American Idol contestants.   Get a job.  Go back to school.
8.  "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee.  Sounds like she has the hiccups.
9.  "Little Drummer Boy."  Second most annoying Christmas song ever.  RumpumpumEEEK!
10. "Carol Of The Bells."   Most annoying Christmas song ever.  Take it into war, play it full blast at the enemy 24/7, and they'll surrender!

Oh, I could go on, but enough!  Just give me Bing, Burl, Andy, Ella, Dean, Nat, and yes, even Alvin and the Chipmunks!

Merry Christmas to you and your families!  May you all find joy, happiness, and love this coming year!

Rick Baker
Rochester, NY
December 22, 2010


  1. Rick,

    I've not worked 'in retail' since, well, Lyndon Johnson was President? But I beat you, my friend. I don't go into or by any place that PLAYS music while its doors are open.

    Naturally, the brick-and-board entries I find I 'have to' make during these holidays I do early on a week day for as short a duration as possible, cleansing my ears afterwards.


    There are holiday songs I can handle. Among them, even, are numbers 4, 9, and 10 on your fine list.

    Who really can argue with Eartha Kitt (at least in her prime)? She can call me Santa. I'm cool with it. But you're right: overplayed.

    The Drummer Boy one, the original, I still like (!) despite its overplay -- haunting choral music gets to me. (Sorry!).

    And Carol of the Bells -- downloaded an a capella by Straight No Chaser, since I think theirs has an element of 'camp'.

    I can deal with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (J. Garland), and maybe some others.

    Almost any artist first recording after 1975 finds resistance from me; they must overcome the presumption against them. A rare few have managed.

    That goes for any of their music, not just holiday stuff.

    Your first-named favorites are always welcome -- and I believe Alvin's first came out the same year as Sammy Davis's accident when he lost an eye? 1958?

    I may be merging. But I'm always 'channeling'!

    Have a great Christmas and New Year!


  2. I loathe holiday mall music.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Rick. xx

  3. Oh lordie thanks for the gigantic laugh
    truly you had me crying with tears
    I so agree...I just got back from the mall and I wanted to rip my ears off...stop it!
    I love it when you rant!
    go Rick! do you feel about country western carols..hee hee

  4. Merry Christmas.

    If I never hear the arrogantly titled "The Christmas Song"* again, my life will not be incomplete.

    * as if it were the only one!

    Basically, anything which reduces the meaning of Christmas to winter weather won't do, but "White Christmas" is the exception.

  5. OTOH I'd like a chance to hear the full version of the parody of "The Christmas Song" which begins "Chipmunks roasting on an open fire."

  6. Give me the "oldies" any day. But I am lovin' "Straight No Chaser" - was just introduced to them a couple of weeks ago.

    Thanks for the laugh - Your torture is almost over!

  7. TF: Yes, Alvin and the Chipmunks with Ross Bagdasarian, a.k.a. David Seville, had their first hit in '58. (Ross co-wrote Come On-A My House recorded by Rosemary Clooney) I still have that 45 somewhere.

    Tess: I agree about mall music. But I picture you shopping in quaint, classy shoppes in picturesque towns! Stay away from malls! Merry Christmas to you and all at Willow Manor!

    Suz: Just wear ear muffs! Merry Christmas!

    Naturgesetz: I'll have to DOWNLOAD that Christmas Song parody!

    Margaert: SNC was here in Rochester last month. They are terrific!

    Merry Christmas to you all!


  8. I never heard of SNC. Of course, I'm infamous my tin ear and I don't keep up with much music. I'll be off to YouTube to check them out shortly.

    If you haven't heard it, and he isn't a widely known artist so you may not have, take a listen to John Berry's version of Oh Holy Night. It brings me back to the true spirit of Christmas.

  9. The version I was able to find has "Hot sauce dripping from their toes," as the second line. That's okay, but the way I heard it 25ish years ago said "Jack Frost picking at his nose." Apparently that one is lost in the mists of time. But there is good news. While searching I came across this gem:

    You better watch out, you better not cry,/You better not shout, I'm telling you why./Santa Claus is dead.

    For some reason that one has me literally laughing out loud. When I was in high school we had what we called "sick jokes," and I think this fits the category.

  10. nice rant...i have to agree...though i do like the heavier version of christmas songs done by relient k just to mix it up a bit at going to google that song about wanting an alien...hmm...

    have a wonderful christmas!

  11. Man. You should come to Spore and visit the shopping malls during Chinese New Year season. Guaranteed to drive you nuts. Gongxi, gongxi, gongxi .....