Friday, December 22, 2006

Worst Christmas Song Ever

So this blog is totally a rerun of one I wrote over a year ago - but, hey, it's the holidays and that means rerunning the holidays specials

The holidays can inspire people to do any number of things - not limited to writing a song in spirit of the season. Sometimes this song turns out to be really, really good, and other times it turns out to be really, really bad. I will save the good for another day and today focus on the bad - one bad song, in fact. I wouldn't hesitate to call it the worst Christmas song ever. In November 1979, Paul McCartney released a Christmas single - "Wonderful Christmastime" b/w "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reggae." I have never heard "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reggae," but I think the title speaks for itself. I have have however heard "Wonderful Christmastime" - and I will explain why it earns the title of "Worst Christmas Song Ever." (Note: It is deserving of such a title, but because of it, I am oddly drawn to it, much like I am to Ruben Studdard's "Sorry 2004") I am in no way questioning Sir Paul's musical talents. He was a key member of the greatest band ever, wrote some great pop songs, and can play pretty much any instrument. That being said, he got lazy when it came to this jingle.

The song begins with the awful sounds of a synthesizer, which sounds like Paul hitting the keyboard just to hear what it sounds like. Then a slight drum and some jingling bells accompany the synth and I am inclined to think that Paul had recently purchased a Casio keyboard at a garage sale and this is what played when he hit the demo button. As Paul begins singing, the beat never, ever changes from that synth. He begins singing and the lyrics are, well, rubbish: "The moon is right/The spirits up/We're here tonight/And that's enough/Simply having a wonderful christmastime," and Paul follows this same structure for the entire song - stringing together four lines that sort of rhyme and kind of have something to do with Christmas. I'm guessing he was drunk and wrote this about five minutes before he recorded it.

After the second verse, there is a psuedo chorus, where Paul sings, "The choir of children sing their song," and then he and Linda in squeaky, high pitched voices sing, "Ding dong, ding dong, Ding dong, ding ohhhh, Ohhhhhhh." When he returns to these pseudo chorus later in the song, he sings, "The choir of children sing their song/They practiced all year long," and he is saying that it took them all year to learn, "Ding dong, ding dong, Ding dong, ding ohhhh, Ohhhhhhh." What kind of lazy ass chorus is this, and what kind of Christmas song goes, "Ding dong, ding dong, Ding dong, ding ohhhh, Ohhhhhhh."

In the last verse, Paul sings, "The word is out/About the town/To lift a glass/Ahhh don't look down." DON'T LOOK DOWN!?! What does that even mean, besides the fact that 'down' rhymes with 'town.' Here's what I think: Paul's people were like, "Hey man, you should do a Christmas song. People will buy anything with your name on it." And he was like, "Well I was talking to this crazy guy on the bus and he was like, 'The party's on/The feelin's here/That only comes/This time of year.' I think I'll use that."

The whole thing feels a bit disingenuous. If Paul's Christmastime is so wonderful, then why did he write such a terrible song about it. Its kind of disguised, but I would say there is more than a hint of saddness in that song. I can actually remember the first time I ever heard this song. I was young (and way into the Beatles, and way into Christmas oldies). It was kinda late and it came on the oldies radio and I was like, "Is this Paul McCartney? This is the worst Christmas song I've ever heard." Even then I had taste, and that was when I thought "Run Run Rudolph" was a kick-ass song.

This video is quite disturbing as well...


Barbara Bruederlin said...

You could repost that every year, as far as I am concerned, as you are doing the world a huge favour in warning about this sort of horror. I do remember hearing this song before, but had succeeded in deleting it from my memory bank (probably a self-preservation technique).

The video is downright frightening. What's with the disembodied hands playing piano across the universe? And the big pink bomb exploding in front of that house. Egads!

Gotta love Linda's mullet, though.

Allison said...

"I am inclined to think that Paul had recently purchased a Casio keyboard at a garage sale and this is what played when he hit the demo button."

I really don't care for Christmas music in general, and its songs like this that make it so. Barb's right though, the mullet is great ;P

Anonymous said...

Yes it's bad, but why not talk about that other ex-Beatle Christmas song- "Happy Xmas (War is Over)"? I didn't realize until now how self-righteous that song is. Bad enough that Lennon feels the need to shove guilt down our throat at Christmas but he's also not even reflective enough to ask, "What I have I done?" No, Lennon asks, "What have you done?" and waves his finger in our faces.