On the other foot, Matt Roach garage rages about the trauma of getting clothes for Xmas in “Toys for Boys.” He’s going to need therapy.
Full on underage prurient pop from Wengie takes on “Ugly Christmas Sweater.” Breathlessly purring ‘Put it on! Put it on!’ doesn’t convey a clear message about the sweater or its ugliness. Danceable, tho.
Songs about Christmas are so endemic that the merest ephemera or frippery is grist for the Xmas music mill. Hence, dozens of songs about Christmas cards. You’d think, with the electronic age, we’d’ve run out of these selections. Think this:
Terrible, bad, heinous songs may briefly be considered. The inconceivably Eurotrashy Günther serenades you with ‘Ding dong! It’s a Christmas song!’ in his “Christmas Song.” Awful, baby, simply ’70s disco awful.
Geraldine McQueen crosses us back over to the weird (ambiguously sexually slanted enough for us to make up our own aesthetic) with the show tune “Once Upon a Christmas Song.” Come along with me: love, hate, love hate… (over and over again).
One of the worst topics to research was original holiday songs on television shows. Traditional carols pile up (sung by the stars!), and occasional alt-rock gems get discovered as background music on young peoples’ shows (The CW network). And Thank God for cartoons. I ran searches for individual programs on Youtube (Gunsmoke+Christmas+song) forever and ever. Nobody has their own blog on this topic than i can tell. It’s a lost cause, i tells ya!
Preferring the scripted terrain, i never went so far as to open it up to the late night shows who really go to town on the novelty Christmas song trope. Let’s stretch here…
Darlene Love adds vocals to “Christmas Time for the Jews” on SNL back in 2005, a soul sister testimonial that non-Christians can take over for one day while everything is closed for the observant. Hey now!
Also SNL (the year 2000), a song that scored near endless updates “I Wish It was Christmas Today,” rock nonsense from Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. Okay fine bye.
Saturday Night Live‘s ugly stepchild MADtv had a couple of bits worth a mention. Canada’s comic folk chroniclers Corky and The Juice Pigs bluesify “Christmas Drunken Alibi.” Didn’t mean it, baby! Actual cool blues from Harry Connick Jr (seriously) as a guest fronting “(It Must’ve been Ol’) Santa Claus.” Nice.
Jimmy Kimmel likes some odd songs, too. He joined The Killers on his show for a wonderful alt-bitofun “Joel, the Lump of Coal.” This time the punishment is the present.
A seriously sad rockblues number from James Cordon wallows in what happens “When Christmas is Over.” Peace out.
Stephen Colbert is also not ascared of musical pieces. He won an 2010 Grammy from his old show’s musical holiday ep, including the song “A Cold, Cold Christmas,” heartbroken country humor of some considerable range. In his new show he tried to contrast jolly “Jingle Jingle (Santa Party)” silly pop singing with the angry rap of political topicality. More recently he penned supposedly the worst Xmas song of all time. “Christmas is Now” (feat. Norah Jones) soft pops repetition to madness.
Finally, let’s allow for the most tangential of topics–British holiday commercials, sung about by Adam Buxton (Dr. Buckles) in “Television Ads at Christmas” to the tune of ‘Rudolph.’ A bit esoteric, but fun.
Let’s overdecorate. Yes, i include overall/house decorations with the tree’s biz, but The Therapy Sisters do mention trees in “The War of the Lights.” Down home musical fare, but in war nobody wins.
Closed Heart Surgery gets experimental DJ mashing up old easy listening with exuberant young rap. “I Hope Christmas Lights Burn Your House Down” is more concerned with the rhyme than the reason, but it pops. Shit just got BLUE ALERT.
More Xmas adjacent subject matter. I figured snowmen would be a week out of the month of snow songs, but they are never-ending. I even got a book about their history (last Christmas). (Apparently elaborate sculpting was much more the style until just over a hundred years ago.) And they’re such nice stand-ins for all aspects of humanity.
E.g. “Chris Farren’s Disney’s Frozen” by loveable nudnik Chris Farren (feat. Anika Pyle & Sean Bonnette). Funky folk about a naive young lover. Kwicher bitchin. (Caution: no corporate mouses were harmed in the lyricizing of this song.)
Man i love me some spot on hit song parodies that feature Christmas. So how could i have missed out on The Withers?! Time to rectify. (And sprinkle in a few other finds.)
1966: Buffalo Springfield releases ‘For What It’s Worth’ just before Christmas and it peaks on no. 7 of the Billboard charts, also becoming a big deal in the anti-Vietnam War movement. The Withers get hip with “What the Present’s Worth.”
1966: Hey, there are other parodiers! DeathTongue hits up the Johnny Rivers hit ‘Secret Agent Man’ from the TV deal with “Elf on the Shelf.” I spy with my little eye that that no.3 rocker is well served.</p>
1968: The Beatles rock softly with the Paul McCartney ‘Blackbird.’ The Withers play nice with their “Reindeer.”
1972: all-Rush mixtape has an adorable take on Bread’s ‘Guitar Man’ with an unapproachable “Santa Man.” The original hit number 11 on Billboard, but was no ‘Baby, I’ma Want You.’ And yet the parody is groovy gravy.
1974 Carl Douglas sold 11 million ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ singles and became one of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time. The Withers get kazoo crazy with “Christmas Lighting.”
1975: ‘Low Rider’ from War hit 7 on the Hot Singles chart, 1 on the R+B chart. Santa’s Elves fa la la it up with “Sleigh Rider.” Mr. Red’s got street cred.
1976: Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘(Don’t Fear) the Reaper’ barely broke the top ten, but had legs and was included in Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 Songs of all time. Dr. BLT’s “Don’t Fear the New Year” is not karaoke slavish to the original, it just putzes around having fun. (The Withers, natch, mock it up with “Don’t Feed the Reindeer.”)
1976: Starland Vocal Band adds to our slanglish with ‘Afternoon Delight.’ The Withers honor thy pop with “Christmas Delight.”
1978: Number 20 on Billboard’s Greatest Girl Groups Songs of all time, Sister Sledge takes ‘We Are Family’ to club levels. “We Got a Christmas Tree” by Santa’s Elves goes back to the musical roots.
2017: New contenders The Skorys take on mod pop tunes with Xmas twists. Love ’em, but they yet have room to grow. Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’ charted strong and got swooped up for commercial and movie trailer backgrounds. Even better as the parody “Naughty List.”
2017: Selena Gomez’s ‘Wolves’ charted much better in Poland than here, but The Skorys have many funninesses with their parody “Christmas Time.”
1992: Better reviewed than bought, REM’s ‘Man on the Moon’ sparked the in-the-know party convo that alt snobs loved. The Withers get complicated with “Reindeer on the Moon.” C’mon, Rudolph.