Now that we're into December and Christmas music is ubiquitous I'm reminded how bad some Christmas music is. Actually, I never really forget how bad it is; I just don't have to hear it eleven months out of the year.
Don't misunderstand me, though. Some Christmas songs are terrific. In fact, I enjoy quite a few Christmas carols as well as old standards like Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" or Nat King Cole's version of Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song." But for every Christmas song that is the musical equivalent of fresh fallen snow, there are two that are steaming reindeer turds.
The worst ones are done by contemporary performers. Generally they do pedestrian versions of Christmas classics or they write their own gag reflex-inducing ditties. Now, there are a few exceptions, such as Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," Barenaked Ladies' and Sarah McLachlan's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," U2's "Baby, Please Come Home" - and I'm sure I could think of others if I thought about it long enough.
For some artists, though, it's a given that their Christmas songs will stink like four-month-old egg nog. NSYNC cut a Christmas album. Need I say more? But what is maybe the worst Christmas song ever was written by one of the greatest songwriters of all-time. Yep, Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time." There's nothing wonderful about an annoyingly painful chorus repeated thirty times over a chintzy synthesizer. Sure, McCartney has written plenty dozens of bad songs over his career, but they don't get played every hour on the hour for an entire month.
How on earth did the song become a pop radio Christmas classic?