Christmas Carols: Treasures and Travesties
Troy Mathew | Thursday, December 2, 2010
While driving to school after Thanksgiving break, my friend and I noticed a decidedly happier car atmosphere. Was the plethora of baked goods I had crammed into my backpack responsible? Partly, yes. However, it was the constant stream of holiday cheer pumping out of the car speakers that sent us into a caroling frenzy. During this drive of four-plus hours, I heard nearly every Christmas carol, ranging from the fantastic to the immediate-scan worthy. This diverse array of songs led me to craft a list: the songs that are Christmas favorites, and the ones that will surely induce holiday displeasure.
“The Christmas Shoes,” NewSong (2001)
This melodramatic tune tells the utterly ridiculous story of a boy who wants to buy shoes for his near-death mother. Because if there’s one thing a dying person needs, it’s a new pair of shoes (obviously). This is like a Lifetime movie set to music.
“Grown Up Christmas List,” Amy Grant (2002)
A favorite amongst middle-aged women, this song describes the outrageously sappy desires of Amy Grant. This list includes world peace, relief for a world in need and every other cliché you can think of. Headlining my very own grown up Christmas list is more FlexPoints and a worldwide radio ban on this song.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Jackson 5 (1970)
As the name suggests, this incredibly annoying carol is told from a child’s point of view, as he stumbles upon his adulterous mother under the mistletoe with a shameless Santa Claus. Strange narration from a young Michael Jackson adds to the song’s unsettling nature.
“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey (1994)
Bells, lively background singers and a wailing Mariah Carey — everything about this holiday gem is perfect.
“Winter Wonderland,” Dean Martin
Classic and simple, this song deserves a place on any holiday playlist. Unfortunate covers by Selena Gomez and Jason Mraz only highlight this version’s jazzy brilliance.
“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy,” David Bowie and Bing Crosby (1982)
Bowie and Crosby’s harmonious classic provides a dose of Christmas sentiment without overdoing it (take note, Amy Grant).
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
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