Christmas is usually time when a musician can use their ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card. You can forgive and forget a load of musical schmaltz and syrup because a track has been laid at this time of the year. But no matter how much cumulative seasonal good will, tinsel and jingle bells are thrown at some songs, they just suck, no matter how many synthetic snowflakes are on the sleeve of the single.
But before I run down the worst Christmas songs ever, here’s a goodie.
Now, on to the crap.
5) Justin Bieber – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’
Mariah Carey’s original was a career highlight. Full of Phil Spector-like musical nods, it was wide eyed with the child-like wonder at the joy of Christmas. In retrospect this shouldn’t have been a surprise; the 41 year old has spent most of her career acting like a 12 year old lost in her mother’s wardrobe pretending to be Queen Noor Of Jordan. But this re-make with Justin Bieber is plain creepy. In the video we see Mariah (playing what can only be described as an ‘elf cum Barbie waxwork’) flirting outrageously with Biebs who’s filled with all the consumerist joy of the holiday season as he loots a local mall. In the song they swap roles, she sounds human, he’s autotuned to an inch of his tiny life.
4) The Spice Girls – ‘Christmas Wrapping’
While I bow my head to the luminous pop bauble that was ‘2 Become 1’, I can’t abide this version of The Waitresses classic. Yuckily self-referential (I choke on my brussels sprouts every time Mel C raps about “World Tours” and babies and Emma Bunton squeaks “Tesco“). It’s the equivalent of those terrible round-robin emails you get from that self-important family member your entire brood mocks as they bang on about ‘Katy’s excellent Grade 1 piano recital’. Bah humbug indeed.
3) Christina Aguilera – ‘Oh Holy Night’
Why use one syllable when you can use 20? Over-singing in the most comical way, Christina sounds like she’s exorcising those Mickey Mouse Club demons on this track. Also note: her delivery of The Lord’s Prayer in the middle is a bit too much like her hot ‘n’ heavy delivery of ‘Bionic’’s ‘Sex For Breakfast’ for some peoples liking.
2) Band Aid 20 – ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
Littered with the corpses of mid-noughties pop stardom (Fran Healey, Rachel Stevens, Busted), this is perhaps the only time you’ll hear me utter the words: “The Stock, Aitken And Waterman version was far superior.” Filled with a treasure trove of clunkers including: Dido doing a vocal delivery that can only be described as “dangerously close to unconscious”, Dizzee’s rap that’s ‘socially conscious’ in a ‘Blue Peter explaining the recession’ kinda way and the ungodly pairing of Justin Hawkins and Joss Stone. We know it was for charity but there’s so much wrong here.
1) John Lennon – ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’
Bad year was it? John Lennon’s amazingly miserable and judgmental ode to the season is just the right type of message to send out at this time of year…if you don’t want anyone to send you any Christmas cards/presents ever again. “So this is Christmas and what have you done?” he snarks like a bearded Anne Robinson peering over her specs. His stocking was likely to have a sour grape in it.
What’s your least favourite festive song?