Art by Camden Andl ’19 | The Grinch disdainfully listens to Christmas music on his phone.
Camden Andl ’19
I have five words—Christmas music is extremely overrated. Even as I write these words, I know I have already dug myself into an inescapable hole, wherein I will be torn to pieces by the undying and forever loyal Christmas fanatics.
My words to those people—I do not dislike Christmas, I simply dislike Christmas music.
Over the years, my preferred music genre has evolved from pop to soft rock to indie rock to folk. But throughout my eighteen years I have never once been a fan of Christmas music as a genre.
This is probably largely influenced by my childhood, during which my mother wouldn’t let us listen to Christmas music until her shopping was done—so, basically Christmas Eve.
Let’s get this straight. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is probably the worst Christmas song of all time. Not because of its production, Carey’s voice or the instrumentals whatsoever. No, the only reason I cannot stand to hear the ringing bells, bouncy piano and Carey’s runs is because I have heard the song over and over and over. The same goes for almost every other Christmas song.
There’s a reason why the popular ones are so popular—they’re usually genuinely good pieces of music.
But having to hear the same fifty renditions of the same fifteen or so songs for an entire month (or more) every single year of your life against your will makes you go a little crazy.
I am still able to enjoy old Christmas songs by artists such as Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald—all of whose Christmas songs and albums have done astoundingly well—because I am not constantly bombarded with their music every time I turn on the radio or walk into a store during the month of December.
Some of Christmas’ top offenders are songs like “Last Christmas” by Wham!, “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms, “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber and “Santa Baby” by Madonna.
None of those songs are necessarily bad, they’re just way too overplayed. That is, except for “Santa Baby” by Madonna—a truly atrocious song both in instrumentals and lyrics.
That brings me to another point. Creepy Christmas songs.
Christmas is supposed to be a family holiday, everyone coming together to spend time with one another. When we’re young, and arguably even when we’re old, it’s the most ‘magical time of the year.’
However, there are so many popular Christmas songs that should definitely not be allowed to be played around children. “Santa Baby,” for example, is filled with innuendos, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is about a child witnessing his mother cheat on his father with Santa Claus and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is just really, really uncomfortable to listen to.
Tradition is the only things keeping these weird Christmas songs, and the extremely overplayed ones playing. But I think it’s time that we start doing some ‘winter’ spring cleaning so to speak—clear off the shelves and restock them with new inventory.
Some of my favorite Christmas tunes to listen to are Sleeping at Last’s album, “Christmas Collection, Vol. 1,” Bruno Major’s “I Think it Must be Christmas,” Billie Marten’s “White Christmas,” and The Lumineers “Blue Christmas.”
While some of these songs are simply just covers of very popular songs, I think it is important to keep Christmas music fresh, but to not try and modernize the classics too much, like Justin Bieber and Wham! failed to do—establish a timeless feel in the song and it won’t wear out in five years. But modernize it enough to where it should have a shelf life of around ten.
So let’s allow the old songs to die, and make way for some new ones. The classics have had their time, and I don’t think Mariah Carey needs any more money.