Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Problematic Christmas Songs

I absolutely love Christmas music. I am the one who waits all the way until November 1st to listen to it... after all, there's no Thanksgiving music or Thanksgiving movies, so I go from Halloween straight into Christmas with a pause for food, family and the Macy's parade in the middle. Brandon is my balance, making me wait until after Thanksgiving is over to put up our tree or other decorations. He was appalled when I turned on "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" nearly a week before Thanksgiving and has refused to listen to Christmas music until this past holiday weekend was over. Now I'm thrilled that we have a Houston radio station, 99.1, that is playing Christmas music from now until December 25th. And yet, as I listened to it while driving around running errands and to work, I found myself bothered by a few songs. There were a couple that I listened to and just had problems with, so much that I have now dubbed them "Problematic Christmas Songs". Here, in no particular order, are 10 Problematic Christmas Songs and why they're troubling.

1. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
  • Lyrics: "You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town...He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake".
    • Talk about a creeper! Let's threaten our children that they better behave or an elderly stranger will stalk them. Somehow this doesn't seem like sound parenting advice.

2. O Christmas Tree
  • Lyrics: "O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree"
    • Um, anyone know any more words to the song besides those? Maybe it's just that I watched "Ernest Saves Christmas" too many times growing up, and so I learned this song from him. Ernest, by the way, just sings "O Christmas tree" over and over and over for the whole song. Sounds good to me, but how could someone really get royalties for something like that? Not fair. 

3. Jingle Bells
  • Lyrics:"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. Hey! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh"
    • Everyone knows the lyrics, but herein lies the problem: wouldn't you rather sing this?
      • "Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg. Batmobile lost a wheel and Joker took ballet/got away" <--- depending on your raising. Seriously, much more fun, and yet that version is never played on the radio. Boo. Hiss.

4. Joy to the World
  • Lyrics: "Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let Earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and heaven and nature sing"
    • Same issue as "Jingle Bells". I cannot sing these lyrics, because I'm always too busy laughing like an 8 year old singing this:
      • "Joy to the world! Barney's (or My teacher's) dead. We barbequed his (her) head! What happened to his (her) body? We flushed it down the potty. And round and round it goes, and round and round it goes, and round and round and round it goes" Why is the former version so much more popular? I'm at a loss.

5. Twelve Days of Christmas
  •  Lyrics: Aw heck no I am not typing that all out.
    • It doesn't matter how fast you sing this song, it's always too long. And who decided there were twelve days of Christmas anyway? Last time I checked we had one day of Christmas. Now, there are eight days of Hanukkah, so my guess is that back in the day a Christian songwriter decided to show up our Jewish brothers and sisters by claiming we had a holiday that actually lasts 4 days longer than theirs. Take that!
    • A sidenote problem I have is the same as the previous two songs... I am always tempted to sing my own lyrics. Of course "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World" have well known childish remixes, while the "Twelve Days of Christmas" rewrite is a Tracey original, circa 1994 if I had to put a date to it. Sorry in advance for the missing days- the song is so long that I can't even remember my own lyrics.
      • 12 plumbers plumbing
      • 11
      • 10 lizards licking
      • 9 bombs a-ticking
      • 8
      • 7
      • 6 cans of dog food
      • 5 Super Bowl rings
      • 4 cotton balls
      • 3 French fries
      • 2 toilet bowls
      • and the Partridge Family 
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  • Lyrics: "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night... Oh what a laugh it would have been if daddy had only seen mommy kissing Santa Claus last night"
    • Of course we understand the cuteness of the song is that daddy was dressed up as Santa Claus. But this naive kid knows not. And if he THINKS it'd be a LAUGH if daddy walked in and saw mommy and Santa Claus getting busy in the living room, there'd be some serious holiday domestic violence, and I guarantee no songs would be written about it.

7. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
  • Lyrics: "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Only a hippopotamus will do"
    • Rude, spoiled, ridiculous child.  Even if it were possible, they're a little expensive. You try negotiating with the zoo in order to fulfill a Christmas wish! Santa has so many kids to worry about each Christmas, and this girl is busy asking for wild animals. Your house is too small sweetie, and the hippo would bite your head off at the first opportunity. Then all you get for Christmas is a trip to the emergency room. Happy holidays.

8. All I Want for Christmas Is You
  • Lyrics: "I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need. I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree. I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know. Make my wish come true. All I want for Christmas is you"
    • It is impossible to sing along with this song. I don't care how many times you listen to Mariah sing it, you will NEVER be able to trill and throw your voice around just like she does in the opening of the song. You may have a CHANCE of semi-copying her when you sing it by yourself, but it's futile to sing with her. Which is frustrating, because it's one of the most fun Christmas songs out there. We have a love/hate relationship.

9. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  •  Lyrics: "Grandma got run over by a reindeer"
    • There's more. Lots more. I especially love the explanation: she was drunk! Cut grandma some slack guys. Could there really be a more problematic Christmas song than this? It speaks of reckless driving and alcoholism in one breath and wishes a Merry Christmas in another. Sad, sad, sad.

10. Santa Baby
  • Lyrics: Not the issue.
    • It's not even worth writing the lyrics out, because there is nothing inherently wrong with the lyrics to this song. The fact that it's always sung by someone who sounds like they're breathing heavily on a 900-number is the issue. Try singing it and not sounding like a stripper. Try it.

      You tried, didn't you? :)

Honorable mention: My husband says I should include "The Christmas Song"...
From Brandon: To all the men out there, have you ever imagined how painful it would be to have your "chestnuts roasting on an open fire"?
Gotta love him. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all: enjoy your music this holiday season :)

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