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Saturday, May 25

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flange / December 9, 2007 11:40 PM

"the little drummer boy." back in my punk rock days, i wrote a sequel, "i shot the little drummer boy." visceral.

Andrew / December 9, 2007 11:43 PM


We've added new spam blocking technology to our comment system throughout the site. After you write your comment, you're now asked to type a single letter into a box before clicking "Post." Very simple, no need to decipher a string of warped text -- but if you don't, your comment won't appear!

(It's not case-sensitive, by the way -- upper or lower case is acceptable.)

robyn / December 10, 2007 1:14 AM

Anything by Mannheim Steamroller is pretty FAVORITE Christmas song? "Last Christmas" by Wham. I was slighted by a guy I liked a few years ago around this time, and the song fit the circumstances all too well.

amyc / December 10, 2007 6:42 AM

I hate them all. I hate them all so much.

Greg / December 10, 2007 7:20 AM

Definitely "Little Drummer Boy." Even when Bing & Bowie are singing it.

Andrew / December 10, 2007 7:36 AM

All the pop stars "Holiday' grabbers

Lori / December 10, 2007 7:53 AM

Jingety Jing! Dominic the Christmas Donkey!

but I also hate that Siberian Orchestra crap so much.

Lori / December 10, 2007 7:53 AM

Jingety Jing! Dominic the Christmas Donkey!

but I also hate that Siberian Orchestra crap so much.

Mindy / December 10, 2007 7:59 AM

A Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney. blech.

l / December 10, 2007 8:00 AM

Feliz Navidad. terrible. and now it's in my head, probably all day. Thanks

D. Plus / December 10, 2007 8:03 AM

"I Bought You A Plastic Star For Your Aluminum Tree."

Val / December 10, 2007 8:32 AM

Mele Kalikimaka.

I love it.

Bekki / December 10, 2007 8:41 AM

"Blue Christmas" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

peta / December 10, 2007 8:57 AM

"Jingle Bell Rock"

mork / December 10, 2007 9:03 AM

"...Christmas Time by Paul McCartney. blech."

Amen. Horse cah cah.

printdude / December 10, 2007 9:14 AM

Ruff Ruff Ruff,
Ruff Ruff Ruff,
Ruff Ruff Roof Ruff Ruff!

That and The Grandma Song.
It was cute, like 30 yrs ago.

tortor / December 10, 2007 9:49 AM

'Rockin' around the Christmas Tree'... only because it's become a huge family joke: instead of "later we'll have some pumpkin pie" my dad sings "later we'll have some f***in' pie"

annie / December 10, 2007 9:49 AM

I second Mannheim Steamroller. I had the unfortunate experience seeing them live at Rosemont Horizon a few years back. I should say I heard them, b/c there is no actual band playing anything, just lots of Christmas "spectacular" to look at. I imagine it would have been different if you were "under the influence" but I wasn't so I mostly napped.

Elizabeth / December 10, 2007 9:59 AM

That Mariah Carey version of All I Want for Christmas.

And Jingle Bells.

Oddly enough, I really like the religious Christmas songs (Coventry Carol, O Holy Night--although the Cartman version is extra fantastic)

Andrew / December 10, 2007 10:15 AM

"A Wonderful Christmas Time" -- Paul McCartney, die.

Matt / December 10, 2007 10:16 AM

"Santa Baby"

Around this time every year I get on my "curmudgeons only" soapbox and bemoan the decadence of Christmas. Not that I'm a religious sort, but they way we've allowed the holiday to morph into a capitalistic stew always bugs the hell out of me. I point to simpler times, not that far back, when Christmas wasn't ruled by ticklish Sesame Street characters or compact music devices. "It's not just about the presents!" I scream, face red, holiday shoppers eyeballing me warily as they queue up at the registers.

And then there's "Santa Baby," written and performed what seems like ages ago, at the close of the Korean War, with Ike in office and gasoline costing 45˘ per gallon; when people still put up real trees and had cookie exchanges and sang carols for the neighbors. Eartha Kitt's sultry voice lulls you in so that at first you may not even notice that she's asking for a fur coat, car, yacht, the deed to a platinum mine.

The most materialistic Christmas song out there and it's from decades ago, from what I want to be the halcyon days. But there are no halcyon days of Christmas. I mean, even the first one was marked by a gift of gold, and that from an alleged wise man.

Damian / December 10, 2007 10:43 AM

Definitely the Little Drummer Boy. I hate that pa-rumpumpum-pum. Seriously. And from reading the comments, it looks like I'm not the only one!

Also, can I add that stupid Alice's Diner song to the list? God, I hate that.

sam b / December 10, 2007 10:46 AM

that kenny g chesnuts on the fire song. it's the worst collision of elevators and shopping malls. the soprano saxophone should be illegal. all those saxes should be rounded up and smelted into swords for our boys overseas, god bless 'em. and kenny g should be made to sing in his own voice, publicly and horribly, on some third-rate reality show where everyday people dance to get out of parking tickets. of course, they can't dance. not even close.

Josh / December 10, 2007 10:51 AM

They're all quite wonderful. What makes these songs unique is that they've persevered for decades, primarily by word-of-mouth. For every "Jingle Bells" and "White Christmas", there were ten other carols that composers presented to the public that did not ignite the imagination of the holidays. These song are truly our modern folklore.

It's the renditions that become cringe-worthy. 93.9 FM has to remove those Yanni-style, Euro-orchestral versions from their holiday playlists. You know the type - it's all elaborately performed on keyboards arranged to sound like a full orchestra. It sounds cheap and largely devoid of any personality.

The religious connotation of the Holidays has dissipated for many, so the songs seem to be the only spirit left. I love 'em.

Lily / December 10, 2007 10:59 AM

the Drunken 12 Days of Christmas, the original is bad enough, but that version is awful its not funny or cute, and anything by Manheim Steamroller, Trans Siberian, etc

oddly I like Little Drummer Boy

Clarke / December 10, 2007 11:04 AM

"Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time", Paul McCartney. Death to this song. I have a `Knights Who Say Ni!' reaction to the word "it" everytime this craptastic song sullies the airwaves. This kind of freakishly bad pop music is what may have happened to The Beatles had it not been for Lennon's countering edge. Speaking of Lennon, "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" is an ok Christmas tune...up until Yoko opens her mouth and icicles start to crack and reindeer run away.

Bryan / December 10, 2007 11:07 AM

"Santa Baby," that "Christmas Donkey" one, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," and Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is coming to town" all annoy the crap out of me, but the absolute worst has to be that Trans-Siberian Orchestra (I thought for a long time it was Mannheim Steamroller) version of the Carol of the Bells (I just looked it up, it's called, pretentiously as hell, "Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24 (Instrumental)")… anyway, the Carol of the Bells is up there with "Tubular Bells" and the theme from John Carpenters Halloween for music that makes you want to stab someone, or ANYTHING, JUST PLEASE MAKE IT STOP, but the C/S 12/24 (I) adds that extra dimension of Mannheim-Steamrollerness, with cheesy overdriven guitars and faux-dramatic tension that has come very close to pushing me over the edge of sanity several times each holiday season.

If this is the (Instrumental) version, I have to guess there's a vocal version, and I'm betting it has some sort of Manhattan-Transfer Julliard faux-Doo-Wop showtunes voices on there, maybe with some "World-Music" yodelling and moaning. God help me if I ever hear that.

eep / December 10, 2007 11:09 AM

I hate that damn Paul McCartney "Wonderful Christmas Time" song, too. When I hear it I just want to run around and punch people in the face. See what you've done, McCartney? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

Has anyone else heard "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" from Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album? It's so awful I can't even explain it. All of my friends hate it, but it makes me laugh so hard that I just can't stop playing it.

Michelle / December 10, 2007 11:10 AM

Not quite a song, but the last track on Phil Spector's Christmas album is pure evil. It's just Phil talking about the happiness the Christmas music has brought him, and I can't help but superimpose the sound of gun shots going off in the background instead of soft singing.

bryan / December 10, 2007 11:14 AM

Also, I can just picture those dorks playing it, they're all grinning balding middle aged men in round glasses and elbow-patched wool jackets, twisting their faces in concentration because god forbid it would sound human, everything needs to be PERFECT and they're playing day-glow custom Stratocasters and Tympanis to an adoring crowd of, OH MY GOD WHO WOULD GO SEE A TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA LIVE CONCERT BUT PEOPLE DO OMG IS THERE SOMETHING BIGGER THAN ALL CAPS? MAKE IT STOP!

Kate / December 10, 2007 11:26 AM

That spoken word song about Santa visiting a soldier in the desert gives me chills and not in a good way. Santa weeps, but not because there are people whose job it is to kill in the service of misguided policy and because they do their job effectively--but because the soldier is alone on Christmas. Ohnoes!

On the other hand, being alone on Christmas does suck, so songs that try to make Christmas romantic (like "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland") tend to piss me off. Friggin' it's a family holiday. The exception is "All I Want for Christmas is You," which I just adore.

adam / December 10, 2007 11:46 AM


Except in the version of David Bowie and Bing Crosby, which I never need to hear again, and the one that Vince Guaraldi did, which is latin-tinged, relaxed, and lovely.

Any other version, FEH!

I happen to like "Santa Baby," although I think it might have been co-opted by one too many drag queens by now.

madachode / December 10, 2007 11:50 AM

This is not the Chicago Reader: by madachode.

madachode / December 10, 2007 11:51 AM

Wash Your Clothes and Comb your Hair, move out of your parents house: by madachode.

Muckle John / December 10, 2007 11:55 AM

Almost all of them suck. However, I disagree with those who said "Santa Baby". Besides having Eartha Kitt going for it, the blatant materialism is refreshingly honest.

I agree with the concensus that "Drummer Boy" is the worst of the worst... and by the way, why is the kid tending sheep with a drum?

jj / December 10, 2007 11:57 AM

That "Baby It's Cold Outside" song always creeps me out. It's like the soundtrack to a date rape.

nanniema / December 10, 2007 12:05 PM

The ice cream truck in my neighborhood was playing Christmas carols all summer, so I HATE THEM ALL!!!

But yeah, that Paul McCartney one is especially sucky...

skafiend / December 10, 2007 12:05 PM

Oh, man, so many to choose from... Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer (over-fucking-played. Stop it), the Bruce Springsteen version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (that whiskey growl just doesn't say "Christmas"... or maybe it does), "Someday at Christmas" by Stevie Wonder (yes, a great sentiment... peace on earth... but that sing-song sappy melody is the worst by Stevie since "I just Called To Say I Love You"), "The 12 Days of Christmas".. God, that's a tedious song to sing. Singing that song is like fucking work!

Nobody asked by favorites?: "Santa Claus (Go Straight To The Ghetto)" - james Brown. "Christmas Wrapping" - The Waitresses. "Christmas in Hollis" - Run DMC

roderick / December 10, 2007 12:28 PM

Little Drummer Boy is awesome when Franekstein and Tonto sing it. Anyone remember that SNL skit?

I hate any Christmas song sung by an artist in the last 20 years or so. If it's not Bing, Louis, Eartha, or someone of the like, I tend to not like it. The notable exception is the Brian Setzer.

But count me in as one of the weirdos who likes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

FeedMillGirl / December 10, 2007 12:34 PM

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer

I was oblivious to the message of this song until my husband pointed out that it basically says that everyone can think you're a loser, but if you can get the "Big Guy" to notice you then everyone will like you. What are kids supposed to learn from that?

skafiend / December 10, 2007 1:18 PM

Songs I hate: Bruce Springsteen version of "Santa Claus is Comin' To Town" (That raspy, whiskey voice just doesn't say Christmas.. or maybe it does). "Someday At Christmas" by Stevie Christmas (nice sentiment - peace on earth, blah blah blah - but the sappiest melody Stevie has written since "I just called to say I love you"). "The 12 Days of Christmas" (singing this song is like fucking work)

Not solicited, but favorite songs: "Santa Claus (Go Straight To The Ghetto)", "Slick Nick, You Devil You", "Christmas Wrapping", "Christmas in Hollis"

skafiend / December 10, 2007 1:20 PM

Correction: I mean "Someday At christmas" by Stevie Wonder... Although Stevie Christmas is a kinda cool name...

holden / December 10, 2007 1:24 PM

Jack Johnson has a funny second verse to the Rudolph story that adds a little more justice to the story.

My least favorite xmas songs....12 days of Christmas. I skip that thing every time it comes on. So freaking monotonous and repetitive.

And why is calling a song "Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24" pretentious?

winediva / December 10, 2007 1:49 PM

That horrible Barbara Striesand song where she just sings"Jinglebellsjinglebellsjinglebells" in that fast and kind of manic way.

adam / December 10, 2007 2:16 PM

eep, I officially hate your guts now.

Why, oh why did I find the Star Wars Xmas album online and click "Listen to it you will"??!! Crikey. And people thought I hated Xmas before....

I guess I just haven't heard "What Do You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He's Already Got a Comb)?" enough in my life. This makes me even more angry at Lucas than I was before.

This from from someone who has actually watched the entire SW Holiday Special.

The stupid "Grandma/Reindeer" song has NOTHING on this junk.

Lotta / December 10, 2007 2:16 PM

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.


david rhoden / December 10, 2007 2:46 PM

weird...I can't stand the John Lennon christmas song--it sounds like it's trying to MAKE A DIFFERENCE, and the McCartney one is kind of fun with the seemingly random synth blurts and completely pointless words. It sounds like he recorded it on the way to the bathroom. I guess to me that's a good thing.

Then again, I also like Feliz Navidad.

Erica / December 10, 2007 2:49 PM

NewCity did a funny feature on popular/f-ed up xmas songs and xmas movies.

Because of it, "Do They Know It's Christmas" is my new least-fave xmas song.

-The Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)"
Any version of "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas"
-Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' Christmas album

eep / December 10, 2007 3:01 PM

Just spreading the holiday cheer, adam.

Mary Alice / December 10, 2007 3:11 PM

Has anyone heard that song "Christmas Shoes"? It redefines awful. It is about a boy buying shoes for his dying mother. It is horrible, extremely depressing and as un-Christmasy as you can get.

Wendy / December 10, 2007 3:13 PM

David: my boyfriend and I are with you on the Lennon vs. McCartney xmas songs.

I can't stand the Eurythmics version of "Winter Wonderland." I just get embarrassed for Annie Lennox every time I hear it.

Chrissy / December 10, 2007 3:29 PM

"Christmas Shoes" is the kind of horrible, overly melodramatic song favored by Delilah and probably the same crew that enjoys Lifetime movies and Jodi Picoult novels.

dflo / December 10, 2007 4:13 PM

"Christmas Shoes", hand down.

Jill / December 10, 2007 4:18 PM

I HATE "O Holy Night" because there are 5 million sopranos who think they can sing it, and they can't.

It's right up there with Mannheim Steamroller, which I also can't stand.

I will have to go home and listen to the Esquivel Christmas album to take all this nastiness away (though now I'm totally intrigued by the Star Wars Christmas. Look for it I must).

tortor / December 10, 2007 4:24 PM

Oh lord, "Christmas Shoes". I tried so hard to block it from my memory. Worst. Song. Ever.

Since when did Jesus care about shoes?

David / December 10, 2007 4:35 PM

Here's my fingernails-on-blackboard moment, courtesy of thousands of Christmas Pops orchestra concerts.

The song "Sleigh Ride" ends with a simulated whip and horse neigh. Every time I hear it (which is less and less now that I'm grown up and can't be forced to go to Pops concerts) I want to do something embarassingly violent.

I'm bugged as much by the sound as by the obvious joy that the clapper-thing guy and the French horn (I presume) player take in making it. Smug bastards...

Jill / December 10, 2007 4:42 PM

Oh, this Star Wars Xmas album is CRAPTASTIC!!!

Is this a product of exploitation of the Star Wars brand, or did some people really need the bucks?

If I was a Wookie and you already got me a comb, I wouldn't want love and understanding for Christmas, I'd want a fucking brush and some detangler.

Jill / December 10, 2007 4:47 PM

Oh wait, I spoke too soon. Some robots did some computing and figured out about a brush for the Wookie a few songs later.

This is so fucking bizarre. I can't believe this shit exists.

K. / December 10, 2007 5:27 PM

Paul McCartney's"Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time", makes me want to murder people.

ramsin / December 10, 2007 8:56 PM

I basically hate them all, although my sister used to insist that one of the verses of "Christmas Tree" included the lyrics, "How plentiful are your spores?"

If true, that is clearly the worst holiday song ever.

leelah / December 10, 2007 9:08 PM

Damn, everybody already took the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller and Mariah Carey options. Madonna's version of "Santa Baby" hasn't been mentioned, but that's pretty putrid.

I like Christmas music, actually. I love Death Cab for Cutie's cover... what's that song? "Baby Please Come Home", Band Aid (despite some really bad lyrics) and the all time number one: The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York"

Regina / December 11, 2007 8:43 AM

"Feliz Navidad."

Hal / December 11, 2007 8:46 AM

Definitely the 12 Drunken Days of Christmas,.

But when I was working at Fields, I would have said all of them. That tape loop seemed to get shorter and shorter and shorter, so my most hated would be back around that much sooner. "Silver and Gold" was a particularly painful one.

My absolute favorite, though, is actually The Little Drummer Boy. As sung by Grace Slick on the Pee-Wee Christmas Special. God, that rocks. If I could ever find a full-length version of it...

zoenotcool / December 11, 2007 9:40 AM

"So this is Christmas" - Lennon (too depressing and what's the point?)


"Grandma got run over by a reindeer"

Bad taste.

Drew / December 11, 2007 10:11 AM

I second the vote for 'Dominic the Donkey.' Absolutely wretched. The feds might want to add it to their list of songs to use during sleep deprivation interrogations.

eep / December 11, 2007 10:11 AM

Hal, it's on YouTube. Just search "Grace Jones Pee-Wee Christmas" and it will be the first link.

How sad that I actually found that on my own last week...

Hal / December 11, 2007 11:08 AM

eep - thank you for the pointer - I got my fix for the morning. But sadly, what I meant was a full-length version of the song.

She only sings a verse on the show. :-(

And Grace Jones, of course, not Grace Slick. Dunno what I was thinking there.

irisheyes / December 11, 2007 11:51 AM

Little Drummer Boy goes right through me.
pa-rum pum pum pum my arse.

Cheryl / December 11, 2007 11:56 AM

OMG, YES, the Christmas Shoes thing.

CC / December 11, 2007 12:21 PM

No one's mentioned the Chipmunk abomination yet? That one has been scientifically shown to make ears bleed. And thanks to the scary new CGI movie coming out, it's being played more than ever.

As for favorites, I have a soft spot for the minor-key carols like What Child Is This and Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel. And the rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas sung by Bert and Ernie...right after they reenact the Gift of the Magi plot with Mr Hooper!:

taj / December 11, 2007 1:30 PM

i wish you guys asked for the favorites as well. I didn't grow up with Christmas music but i can say I've grown to like some of it...i also don't like Drummer Boy..
I love U2's It's Christmas time (baby please come home), White Christmas.

Catherine / December 11, 2007 2:25 PM

My least favorite is "Silver Bells" -- that frantic one that sounds psychotic. "Ring silver bells, blah blah blah blah" with the creepy "ding, dong, ding, dong" in the background.

Favorites include "Hard Candy Christmas" by Dolly Parton because it's kind of plucky but a little melancholy - like some Christmases - and "Christmas Island" because it makes so little sense.

brownpants. / December 11, 2007 2:34 PM

white christmas...i mean, really.

fluffy / December 11, 2007 4:15 PM

I hate all Christmas songs. They're useless. But most of all, I hate the Chipmunks' christmas songs...kill the chipmunks.

clodius / December 11, 2007 4:27 PM

The people behind Grandma Got Run Over By a Raindeer need a flaming yule log cockpunch.

On the positive Xmas song front, I was very happy to find my old 7" picture disk of Christmas with the Devil by Spinal Tap over Thanksgiving. Truly a holiday miracle.

adam Haus / December 11, 2007 4:41 PM

You're all getting coal in your stockings next Life Day.

Strangely, I happen to LIKE the Chipmunks xmas song.

And the Barbra Streisand "Jingle Bells" is no doubt used in those offshore CIA torture prisons. Much worse than waterboarding, IMHO.

clodius, i think "flaming yule log cockpunch" should become an official wrassling move. I'm using it this season for sure.

p / December 11, 2007 5:10 PM

i love mannheim steamroller. fuck out of here hating on that smooth stuff. congratulations on having the same attitude towards the holidays as sly's herb son in Rocky V. also- Good King Wenshislaus gets me pretty pumped.

leelah / December 11, 2007 5:50 PM

Adam Haus, I just laughed out loud as I thought, "jinglebellsinglebells jing JANGle..." The Streisand song is HIDEOUS!

peta / December 12, 2007 8:25 AM

Chipmunks song is cute and fun. Aside from my favorite classical recordings ("In the Bleak Midwinter," "Christmas at Litchfield," "O Holy Night" from Pavarotti), I love "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and Boyz 2 Men's "Christmas Interpretation"

mary / December 12, 2007 9:50 AM

i have always enjoyed the chipmunks' songs, but i loved "christmas time is here" even more after hearing patton oswalt's shtick about it. he basically turns them into satan which i find hilarious.
i love "i want a hippopotamus for christmas" i couldnt tell you why.

as for songs i hate, the barbra streisand "jingle bells" and also "frosty the snowman" could never be played again and i would die happy.

miyata / December 12, 2007 10:17 AM

I thought for sure that 'Jingle Bell Rock' was my least fave, until I was reminded of 'Christmas Shoes' and 'Simply Having a Wonderful Xmas Time.' Now that the 'dingdongdingdongdingdong' refrain from the latter is stuck in my brain, I may need to change my vote.

Timoni / December 12, 2007 4:49 PM

Definitely "Little Drummer Boy", and "The Twelve Days of Christmas" for good measure.

Carlotta / December 17, 2007 12:17 PM

"I'll Be Home For Christmas" because it's so damn maudlin and depressing!

Nick Archer / December 20, 2007 8:15 AM

Frosty the Snowman. Also hate the stupid Rankin Bass cartoon they inflict on us every year.

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