November 21, 2006

Christmas Shoes From HELL

I love Christmas. I know Thanksgiving isn’t here yet, but bear with me.

Keri is on the radio lamenting that we’re already deep into Christmas Music Season. (On the blog as well)

I feel her pain. I don’t mind hearing some of my favorite Christmas music (like Vince Gauraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” cool jazz soundtrack) almost any time of year, and especially when the weather starts getting cold. But if I had my druthers, yeah, we wouldn’t switch over into Full Blown Christmas Mode so early. It does feel rushed.

However, that’s not what this post is about; it’s about shoes. One of her callers called in about the “Christmas Shoes Song.” The guy loves the song and wants her to play it.

I have four words: Please. Don’t. No. Ugh.

What, you haven’t heard the song? I have linked to it at the end of this post. I urge, for the love of all that is holy, do not click that link if you care at all about your ears. If you click it, I will not be responsible.

This song is the most tuneless maudlin pablum. There is nothing catchy about it. Nothing lyrical about it. Nothing compelling about it. Except that it is a sad story about a little boy who wants to buy shoes for his dying mother so she’ll look pretty when she meets Jesus in Heaven.

Yes, I am a Humanist. I am not a Christian. This does not stop me from enjoying, even loving, traditional Christmas songs, including the ones that mention Jesus. I’m sentimental. I’m nostalgic about Christmas and I love the Humanist aspects of the holiday. I’m sure some Christians will understand completely, while some will just shake their heads about my Atheist Christmas, but that’s a discussion for another day and I don’t much care what people think.

What I do care about is horrendous travesties of melancholy garbage masquerading as a Christmas song. I never really enjoyed The Little Drummer Boy because its simple message is stretched out over a long song with lousy lyrics. But I tolerated it because it’s a little catchy. This song takes musical ear violation to a new low.

For a song, you should have at least two things:

  1. a good tune and
  2. lyrics that enlighten and/or entertain

As a bonus, an arrangement and a performance that both show some skill.

But this song strikes out on all counts. It’s got a generic ballad made merely to deliver the lyrics. The lyrics are longer than necessary and designed to push one tear-jerker button. I don’t know why some people like this song. I think it might be because they think it shines a light on the “true meaning” of the holiday season. That there are needier people than you. However, I detest the unsubtle, 2×4-over-the-head, inelegant way this song manipulates your feelings. And I hate the “storytelling” style of the song. If a song is an attempt to seduce your ears with its beauty, this song is the equivalent of an emaciated prostitute covered with boils and Tammy-Fae-style makeup flashing you on the street, with a tattoo on her tummy that says “life sucks.” And then punching you in the crotch.

My reaction to this song is beyond the rational. I detest it. I loathe it. I will definitely leave a store if this song comes on. It makes me ill. I implore people to kill this song dead. I am boycotting this song, for the preservation of my brain. For all that is holy, choose your music wisely. If this song becomes a Christmas standard, we will have lowered the bar for acceptable Christmas music to a level so low that the Jingle Bell Dogs song (which I definitely prefer) will seem like Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK to the Christmas Shoes song.

My favorite Christmas songs?

There are lots more, but, you know, I’m not ready to think this deeply about Christmas yet. Dammit.

Posted by James at November 21, 2006 3:48 PM
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Under the file of What Would Jesus Do, I think Jesus would ban the radio station from playing that song.

I do NOT think the first thing Jesus Would Do when Mommy gets to heaven is look at her feet and say, "Hey! Nice shoes!"


Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at November 21, 2006 5:03 PM

I see MJ beat me to The! Best! Comment! Ever!

I think Jesus wears Nikes, myself. Why would anyone in their right mind wear heels in heaven????

Posted by: Lynn at November 21, 2006 5:10 PM

In spite of your high praise, I'm not even tempted to click the link. It sounds like email glurge set to moozic.

Speaking of which, there was a song called One More Year Of Daddy's LIttle Girl by Ray Sawyer (pre-Dr. Hook) that was also very glurgy, but stuck with me for some reason. Like more than 25 years - I looked it up recently and found it was from 1977.

I had thought it was a Christmas song because I originally heard it around Christmas (MANY years ago) and it mentioned angels and candy. It's about a little girl who takes sick and then dies a year later. Snif. And gag. :o) But kinda catchy, in a morbid and corny way.

Posted by: Julie at November 21, 2006 5:15 PM

YES - it is a musical glurge!

I can't believe I didn't post about this last year or the year before.

I need a new blog (if I had time)


Posted by: James at November 21, 2006 5:19 PM

Oh, yeah, perfect comment MJ. :)

Posted by: James at November 21, 2006 5:21 PM


Is that supposed to be the dead mother in the graphic above the lyrics?

I hate this song with a passion -- but I felt bad for that guy ... he seemed to emotional about the song ... I didn't want to crush his spirit. After all ... it's Christmas.



Posted by: Keri at November 21, 2006 8:39 PM

MJ's comment reminds me of old-lady conversations I've been subjected to, which start, "Did you see how so-and-so was dressed for Church! Appalling, shameful, etc."

Posted by: Maggie at November 21, 2006 8:40 PM

"That Spirit of Christmas" makes me get all choked up because of that silly scene in Christmas Vacation -- we used to watch that movie every year. You know the one, when Chevy Chase is in the attic watching old family movies before he falls through the attic door.

But a commenter on Keri's blog hit the nail on the head: if you want a really good message of Christmas, look to Emmet Otter's Jug Band.

I'll talk more about this as Christmas ACTUALLY approaches.

Posted by: James at November 21, 2006 8:51 PM

And I want her to look beeeeuuuuutiful if Mommmmmaaaaa meets Jesus tonight.

Excuse me while I go vomit.

Posted by: Wormie at November 21, 2006 9:06 PM

Keri, you have a kind heart. I feel bad for the guy, too, because some people just don't know any better. Such is the evil that has been visited upon us by this particular songwriter. It's what lowering the bar is all about. The crime of low music expectations.

It's truly a tragedy that "The Christmas Shoes" will undoubtedly be heard more than, say "The Nutcracker" this year. Not that Tchaikovsky is my favorite.

Here's an idea for a new song: A boy's Christmas wish is to learn a good song to sing to his mother to comfort her and save her from being depressed for the holidays. And, in the end, it works.

It's Christmas -- how about a frickin' happy ending? I still don't forgive my parents for making me watch "The Little Match Girl." Frickin' Hans Christian Anderson.

Posted by: James at November 21, 2006 9:15 PM

This song personifies everything I dislike about living in Hallmarkica. I guess it is harmless, in the sense that the generification of culture doesn't kill babies, but they could have chosen to copy something more original. This song comes across as an unholy cross between "We Are The World" and Michael "no talent ass clown" Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?"

Let's all join hands and wear "I met Jesus and all I got were these lousy shoes" t-shirts. I wonder how the narrator would react if he entered a different shoe store and saw the same child working the same con.

Bless all our cynical hearts, every one.

Posted by: Mike at November 22, 2006 8:10 AM

My cyni-dar must be off, because I didn't realize that this kid was a grifter! That's priceless!

Mike, I think you might have just saved my sanity with this small psychological defense against this song. A bonus on the saving throw, if you will.

Posted by: James at November 22, 2006 8:27 AM

1. a good tune and
2. lyrics that enlighten and/or entertain

This is exactly why my favorite Christmas song is Hot for Teacher.

Posted by: DG at November 22, 2006 8:55 AM

By the way, I don't think Jesus wears Nikes, unless he's into exploiting 14 year old Indonesian girls. I'm pretty sure he'd wear union-made Red Wings or something.

Posted by: DG at November 22, 2006 8:58 AM

I didn't actually say those were the criteria for a Christmas song. It's a more general rule. :)

If that's how you roll, you won't get an argument from me when you want to sing "Hot For Teacher" for Christmas.

But if you do, you will be required to also do the dance that they do in the video. Like we did at last year's Christmas party when we sang "Hot For Teacher."

Posted by: James at November 22, 2006 9:03 AM

Sarah and I have HATED this song since we first heard it in '02. It is number one on Billboard's "All that Sucks About Christmas" chart. Right above Mannheim Steamroller's renditions of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Deck the Halls". I think the fourth song is Collin Raye's "What if Jesus Comes Back Like That" (if you're interested in more torture, the lyrics are at:

Oh, and after looking at the picture and seeing the shoes, one wonders why the lyrics aren't "And I want her to look a little slutty if mommy meets Jesus tonight."


Posted by: Bull at November 24, 2006 7:29 PM

If I had been drinking milk, Bull, my laptop screen would be dripping with it.

Dare I check those lyrics? I'll wait until later when I am better prepared. Mustering up the psychological defenses!

Posted by: James at November 27, 2006 10:23 AM

I heard the song for the first time on the radio today, and I'd rather rip out my eardrums with my own two hands than ever hear it again!

Until now, I didn't realize that Jesus is all about the bling! Apparently, before you come knockin' on heaven's door, you better be wearing your Manolos . . . .

And I, too, immediately thought that the kid's a scammer. Two heartbeats after the narrator leaves, he's gonna return the shoes and spend the refund on crank.

Posted by: Sparky at November 30, 2006 12:42 AM

I wandered on to this site because I heard this song on the Muzak while I was shopping tonight. There was a moment when I said "Oh my God!" just a little too loud and drew attention to myself.

I had to go home and find the name of this song so I googled "Shoes" and "Jesus" ....and here I am.

My thought was, as a mother myself, I'd rather they buy some friggin' FOOD. That's all I'm saying. Everyone knows you meet Jesus in the nude anyway.

Posted by: Debra at November 30, 2006 1:07 AM

Christian proud of it love the song Christmas Shoes thanks for putting a link to it

Posted by: Darlene at December 7, 2006 5:15 PM

If you want to torture yourself, be my guest.

Glad you found the song on-line rather than, say, buying the CD. But don't let the RIAA find out!

Posted by: James at December 7, 2006 5:30 PM

most of you are a bunch of jerks............"I hate this", "I hate that", "that sucks".I've never paid any money for anything by Michael Bolton, but I'm pretty sure he can sing a whole lot better than any of you on here....It must be miserable being around people that just cry and whine and criticize others all day.

Posted by: mike at December 9, 2006 9:15 PM

Actually, I only criticize others for about 80% of my day. So it's technically not all day.

I like being around hypercritical people. That way, when they tell me that they like me and my blog I can actually believe them and it really means something. As opposed to the people you apparently like to hang around, who tell you that they like you but secretly know you're a wanker.

Please don't misunderstand and think I'm saying that just because I have better taste than you do that I'm better than you. I'm saying that the people I hang out with are better than you.

Posted by: James at December 9, 2006 11:55 PM

I dunno mike. I hang out with a lot of the people who post here, so I don't know what it's like to hang out with a bunch of jerks that just cry and whine and criticize others all day... but if you really want me to hang out with you, I'll think about it.

Heaven forbid we have opinions. Fates forfend that we might actualy despise utterly vapid glurge so blatantly designed to pull your heartstrings, that it's comparable to sitting through a bad drama film where all the actors are wearing t-shirts that say "I'm only pretending."

Spare us, okay? You're no better than anyone else.

Posted by: Chuck S. at December 10, 2006 2:21 AM

I was just talking about how much I hated that song.
I talked about it with my table in Art.
Everyone hated it.
Then it came on the radio and while were making fun of it and saying how Gay it was the teacher said to turn the song off.
When we asked why it turns out the local girl that died in a car accident she was 8 and the girls sister was in the room about to ball.
Crappy song anyways.
How about you spend your money on something like chemo instead of shoes.
You dont need shoes if youre dying.

Posted by: Rena at December 14, 2006 8:11 PM

ur all gay

Posted by: at December 15, 2006 2:00 PM

mike, if you hang around here more often you'll discover that real discussions happen in the comments more often than complaints. This isn't my website but I'm sure you'd be welcome to contribute if you can do so politely without making personal attacks on others.

If you call everyone jerks the only thing you accomplish is making yourself look like one.

Posted by: Mike at December 15, 2006 3:09 PM

Wat's UR pnt

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at December 15, 2006 3:27 PM

I'm quite sure Michael Bolton has a lot more talent (singing-wise) than I do. It's too bad that talent is wasted singing crappy songs in a sickeningly sweet manner.

It's called having an opinion. What I'm not allowe to tell you what I think as a listener? I must always enjoy things that are put out by people who are better than me at something?

Look I love Diana Krall. i think she's the best female jazz singer alive today. She makes songs her own and never sings a song the same way twice. not a bad piano player either. I also think her previous album (Girl in the other room) was complete crap (I blame Elvis Costello for this by the way). Am I supposed to say I loved it because she clearly is more talented than me? She tried something new and different with that album and it was panned, people let her know it wasn't a good direction and her new album is very different (I haven't heard it yet).

How about movies. I love Christopher Guest films. Not so keen on the newest and wouldn't recommend it.

So are you really upset at the whinning or that we didn't share you're opinion?

Or are you just a sheep. Liking what people tell you you should like.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at December 15, 2006 3:41 PM

Imagine the effort it took to type "ur all gay."

I can smell the wood burning.

Posted by: James at December 15, 2006 3:47 PM

I tried to like that Diana Krall album, but I have to admit that it just never grew on me.

Posted by: James at December 15, 2006 3:49 PM

Anytime someone I don't respect insults me I try to take it as a compliment.

"I'm not like you? Thanks! Glad to hear it!"

Posted by: Mike at December 15, 2006 3:52 PM

I am generally a pretty happy guy though. Especially if I can waste some time making fun of stupid people.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at December 15, 2006 3:54 PM

I have a short fuse these days. I just don't have the time to be sweet and respectful to someone who's acting like an asshole. The conversations all seem to end in the same place anyway, so I've been thinking of shortening it all down to 'Go eff yourself.' Really a timesaver.

Posted by: Chuck S. at December 15, 2006 5:00 PM

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