Silent Night? We Wish: Five of the Worst Christmas Songs

1. “Little Saint Nick” – Hanson, from the album Snowed In

It’s bad enough that the entire Snowed In album sounds like the Hanson bros had a mortgage payment due; the whole thing is thrown together sloppily without much sentimentality or enthusiasm. The worst offender of the whole stale smorgasbord is their cover of the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick.” What was once a playful Cali-style croon about Santa’s sweet, red ride is reduced to a mushy, layer-free Christmas trifle that’s squished into every crevice of your hopeful earholes, but somehow also leaves you feeling as though you’re chewing on tinfoil. Vocals that strain to hit the higher notes and fully bastardize the Beach Boys’ once pristine barbershop style harmonies, obnoxious bell jangling and electric guitar licks run rampant. Seriously.

2. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” – I Declare War, from the album Bring the Season

This “song” is like the soundtrack to anti-Christmas—imagine your nativity ornaments on your tree bursting into flames. I Declare War is an insanely brutal deathcore band (blood-splattered album cover and all) who should have left this holiday alone. Their cover of “Rudolph” starts out innocent, with gang vocals chanting the classic children’s song. Everything is going fine until the line “You would even…say…it…” and then “BLUGGGHHHH,” at which point a sludgy breakdown and legitimately frightening deathcore vocals, like a clogged toilet flushing assault your ears. Breakdowns, blastbeats, pig squeals, and toilet vox ruin Christmas for the next 30 seconds, until the guitars switch into a hellish chugging riff and the vocalist actually starts reciting the lyrics to “Rudolph,” with banshee-like squeals in the background—play this for kids and they’ll be bawling in seconds. This song would be a fitting and festive Christmas song if we lived in an alternate universe where Jesus was like Godzilla and the apocalypse was upon us, with sharpened candy canes raining down, stabbing everyone’s eyeballs. Take a trip to Hell and listen to I Declare War’s Christmas monstrosities at your own peril.

3. “Santa Baby” – The Pussycat Dolls, from the album Now That’s What I Call Christmas

What was once Eartha Kitt’s sultry, pricy, musical Christmas list to the man in red is given the pop music treatment, but leaves you feeling like you might need to be sterilized. The lackluster, sexless vocals of the song are surprising, given the fact that the 100 Pussycat Dolls (how many of them are there, again?), actually started out as a burlesque dance troupe, but not surprising at all for an ensemble that was once called “a brand, not a band” by Entertainment Weekly. Basically, the lack of any shine, zest or smoky panache on the vocal end of things results in what sounds like a girls-night-out turned confusingly sexual karaoke soirée—in your local strip mall. Santa baby, hurry down the chimney tonight and bring us better Christmas music to listen to.

4. O Magnify the Lord – Sandi Patty, from the album The Gift Goes On

So, celebrating the holidays in the way you see fit is totally fine by us—everyone has the right to do that—but there is a line in the sand of enthusiasm. Sandi Patti crossed that line about five Percocets back. You need to be an animated Christmas-centric cartoon character to get on this song’s level. It’s what happens when the people who go door to door trying to sell Bibles, powered on nothing but uppers, coffee and Christmas cheer, get behind the microphone in a recording studio. It’s not that Sandi Patti’s voice isn’t nice, because it is, It’s just the sticky sweet that you get from chomping on candy canes that stick in your molars and give you cavities. It’s not that the tempo of the song is too fast, as long as you consider breakneck speed in a one horse open sleigh en route to the Mall of America to be taking it easy. It’s a brand of praise so smilingly enthusiastic that it’s creepy enough to put the fear of the divine—or at least of Christmas carols—in you.

We couldn’t find it online, probably for good reason, but you can hear a preview here.

5. “So’s Christmas” – Cheryl Thibideau, from the album My Heart Still Remembers

This sickly sweet country album has been kicking around the Fringe office for a few months now, and has been the butt of many jokes when we need a good laugh. The bonus Christmas track on the album is certainly worthy of this Worst Christmas Songs list. The little bass bumps and guitar twangs make this song seriously hilarious, and Thibideau’s slow southern drawl cannot be taken seriously at all. The lyrics are somehow suggestively sexual while remaining Christmasy, and are in true country bumpkin style: “Hey Santa, what are you waiting for? Pull your sleigh up to my front door. […] Love is on its way and so’s Christmas.” Some lyrics are also incredibly clever, like the inspired “Ho ho ho, hold me close.” The album art of the 50+ years old Thibideau draped over a luxurious sofa gazing out a window 50 Shades style in a flowing dress completes the package of this truly ridiculous album.

HONOURABLE MENTION: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” – DMX, improvised cover

We can’t quite figure out whether to love this or hate it, but either way it’s going viral on Facebook and Reddit. On the one hand, it’s a reality TV style cover of the one and only DMX, slinging the lyrics to this classic Christmas song with abandon. On the other hand, it’s a reality TV cover of the one and only DMX slinging—you get the idea.

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« Link Radio | Dec. 5, 2013