Thoughts on Christmas Songs (previously a reply to a Todd in the Shadows video)
The part that really bugs me… lots of parts bug me. One of the big ones is that a lot of the perennial Christmas songs were made right at the point where rock & roll had come in and swing jazz was trying to die. Lots of big bands out there just wouldn’t go away. They put a little bit more emphasis on the electric guitar and told us they were playing rock & roll. Rock & roll was new at the time, so they might have been able to trick people then. Not now. It’s not rock & roll. It’s swing jazz. It sucks, and it has always sucked. Let those musicians free on some bebop and they could probably knock your socks off. But instead, they’re in chains, going “Bop, baaaaa-bop” over and over for some egotistical singer. Fuck it.
The other thing that bothers me is the Phil Spector Christmas record. Phil Spector had a habbit of using singers with shitty voices. They sound like little snot-nosed kids taunting. “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo! I-i-it’s Christmas! Ha ha ha ha haaa ha!”
And Nat King Cole doing “White Christmas.” He sounds like a rotten little kid, too. “Well, I-yi-yi-yi-hum dreamun’…” STOP! Fucking stop it! It’s a beautiful song! Sing it right! Stop pissing on it!
Then there’s Johnny Mathis. How best to describe his voice? Trembling, every single second, trembling with whimsy. Gag.
And yeah, the same fucking songs over and over. Probably the standard that bugs me the most is that one that goes, “And this Christmas will be/Very special Christmas for me.” Mostly because one of my roommates had it as his ring tone at one point, sung by one of his friends, really badly.
And I fucking hate Mariah Carey’s song, too, and her big jazz-hands “Ahhhh-a-ahh-a-ahhh!”
Probably the worst Christmas song is “Happy Holidays” by Andy Williams. For one thing, the song is called “Happy Holidays.” Know why it’s called “Happy Holidays”? Because “Merry Christmas” would be too much of an emotional investment for a cool, detached jazz singer. He even inspired me to write a song of my own. “Presents are the name of the game./Come on, kid, whaddaya want?/I wanna wish you Merry Christmas/As long as it doesn’t get in the way/Of being non-chalant!” But then there’s that fucking lyric. You know the fucking lyric. “It’s t he holiday season,/So hoop-de-doo, and dickory-dock,/And don’t forget to hang up your sock.” HOOP-DE-FUCKING-DOO AND DICKORY-FUCKING-DOCK!!!??? What is this shit? You call those lyrics? Did the mouse run up the clock? You have no fucking right to sing “dickory-dock” if the mouse did not run up the clock! Right, you just sing lyrics like these because you’re a swing jazz singer. It’s cool for swing jazz singers to be totally arrogant and not give a shit. Fuck you! Write some real fucking lyrics!
Oh, another thing, I like the idea of putting classical music and rock together, but the Trans-Siberian Orchestra pisses me off. It’s fucking kitsch! It’s not clever, it’s not well executed, it’s fucking annoying!
Fact of the matter is new Christmas Songs keep trying to make it, but those stodgy old farts at the radio stations just won’t have it. “[blood vessels on forehead threatening to burst] We are going to play the same old fucking Christmas songs this year, we are going to piss people off, we are going to make retail sales associates go suicidal, we are going to suck, AND THAT IS FINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”