Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh, Turn It Off (I mean, Oh, Tannenbaum)


Okay, I need to blow off a little steam. Please bear with me. (The pic? The Star Wars Christmas Album. Stoooo-pid.)

One of the Pittsburgh radio stations has begun to play Christmas music. Already! Thanksgiving has not yet arrived, and still I turned on the radio in the car (yes, people, I listen to the radio, not an iPod or XM Satellite radio or any other odd, mutated form of music-related entertainment) and, lo and behold, Christmas music blasted out at me.

And it was terrible music. Terrible. It was the worst Christmas carol ever, as voted by the hubby and me in past years: It was Gloria Estefan’s version of “Let It Snow.” If you haven’t had the displeasure of hearing it for yourself, say a quick prayer that you are spared such punishment forevermore. Another possibility is that you may have heard it and simply not recognized it as that particular little ditty, because it is so very awful and corrupted from the original that it could easily be mistaken for a new and horrible song instead of the horrible remake that it is.

I don’t mind that Christmas carol, nor do I mind most of them. Honestly, I really like quite a few of them. It’s the gut-wrenchingly bad renditions of them that hurt me. Whatever moved Gloria to participate in such an attempt? Blaring horns, escalating to loud, honking musical peaks, strangely discordant vocals instead of blissful harmonies… It’s just the worst. Although, in fairness, I was never a big Gloria E. fan…

I suppose it’s kind of mean to harangue Gloria for her Christmas song. Why would I pinpoint her? There are so, so many bad Christmas songs to choose from. And while they’re not all bad, gosh darn there are SO MANY of them. And how many of these recording artists have ever uttered the name Jesus except to snarl curse words at someone? I’d surely like to know.

I did a quick search on Amazon and found quite an eclectic mix of Christmas albums to choose from. You could be crooning along about the Savior with any of the following: Andy Williams (of course), Amy Grant (of course), Jethro Tull (huh? the flutist rocker?), Jessica Simpson (the cover of this one makes you wonder what Jess has on her mind for Christmas), Nana Mouskouri (remember her? the lady with the glasses?), Raffi (who is this guy? Should I know?), Burl Ives (a given), Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight (nothing bad to say about these ladies), Michael Bolton (cornball), Al Green (I’d like to hear this one), Billy Idol (yep, THAT Billy Idol), Beach Boys, Jackson 5, Air Supply, Tiny Tim, Twisted Sister, and so on, and so on. Moody Blues and Jethro Tull got creative and penned mostly new songs for their efforts, but I’m not even sure whether that’s a good idea… I mean, how many really good, fairly recent Christmas songs can you think of? One? Two? Five at most. It’s a tricky business, writing new carols.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it; check it out for yourself and see what absurdities await you in the land of Christmas listening. And be warned—I’ll be working on my own Christmas album for release soon. If I miss this year, I can always shoot for next Halloween, since that’s likely when they’ll begin spinning the Christmas tunes. I’ll call it “Mel Gives You the Christmas Blues.”

(Get it? A little double entendre there? I can sing the blues for you, and I can also give you the blues by my singing them…?) Okay, then. See you around.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well Grinch.....OK lets get this straight, you have a two year old and you dont know who Raffi is? Baby Beluga? Down by the Sea?? You must listen to Raffi asap, he is great.
Next, I happen to like the Christmas music. I was looking for it last week and it hadnt started yet, so I got out my own. Of course mine is the old faithfuls like Bing and Dean and Andy, but I have Brian Setzer too, I highly recommend him. Or the Elf soundtrack. Now that is good music....
Give it up, Mel, Christmas will be overtaking your life starting yesterday, so love it. That is, for a couple weeks, then you and I can sing the oscar the grouch song I love the best..."I Hate Christmas" :)

Cari Skuse said...

Where have you been Miss? XM started playing Christmas music at least last week (probably earlier)! When I was a kid, we started playing Christmas music at the beginning of November because my mom had so many albums!
I want to know what is on The Star Wars Christmas Album and just who does the singing?

chris h. said...

I count B.E. Taylor's Christmas albums (errrr CDs, I'm showing my age) among my favorites. I loved the first one and bought the second one precisely to get the song Mary, Did You Know. Now there's a recent Christmas song worth it's weight in gold. It's my favorite -- makes me tear up every time. (http://www.bonniesplace1.com/Marydid.html)

chris h. said...

Worth its weight in gold (no apostrophe). Sigh.

Mel said...

okay, okay, I obviously hit a nerve here! but I honestly don't remember carols ever starting 'til after Thanksgiving, and I was okay with that. I, too, love the classics (Nat and Bing rule here) and sis, you got me the B. Setzer last year. It's pretty good. And I haven't heard the whole B.E. album, Chris, but he's a local fave, I know, and he's a pretty good musician. I can't tell you what's on the Star Wars album, though, b/c I don't know. I just thought the very concept was so strange. But truly, Tiny Tim Christmas? Billy Idol sings the classics? Isn't this a tad messed up? Maybe it's just me...

Mel said...

Oops, forgot to say yes to Chris. Yes, Mary Did You Know was one of the few good recent Christmas songs I thought of. It's lovely.

UNlike much of the newer recordings. Sorry, I'm sticking to my guns on this--there is a plethora of really B-A-D Christmas music out there.

Athelas63 said...

bah, Humbug, you. I don't get all wound up about the carols starting around thanksgiving. I guess I'm used to it. And some of us would LOVE to own the "Star Wars Christmas Album.."

Mel said...

Star Wars Christmas can be yours--just visit Amazon and search for "silly"--I mean "Star Wars Christmas."

(Come on, sis and sis, I couldn't pass that one up just to see the reactions from you gals. ; )

I haven't yet seen "Boromir and Faramir Sing Christmas" album. I'll be sure to give a holler if I do.