December 11, 2008

That (Xmas) Song Must Die!

Computer mishaps at work have harshed my mellow, and I have missed a few days of posting the usual babbling and navel-gazing. So here's a bit of fun for you!

For the rest of December we're going to focus on holiday-season-type songs. War on Christmas be damned, this is a war on bad Christmas songs. What is a bad Christmas song? Ultimately, that's for you to decide, but I respectfully submit that a bad Christmas song is one that simply sounds like crap. Beyond that, I have a special distaste for songs that try to make up for talent by tugging on your heart strings as if they were Quasimodo trying to ring the bells at Notre Dame. And, if you like any Christmas music at all, you might agree with me that attempts to "improve" on old favorites commit a special kind of sin, worthy of our ire.

On to this week's songs. We have three (and a half).

First: "This One's For the Children." Not strictly a Christmas song, but won't someone think of the children? This song was the flip side of a New Kids on the Block's "Funky, Funky Christmas" single. This song sounds like it was written in a minute and a half on the way in to the studio, for the purposes of filling out a B-side. There were three reasons that I didn't use "Funky, Funky Christmas" -- the first was that the song is not on iMeem, so I couldn't add it to the play list. The second is that I'm not sure it qualifies as a song. The third is that it just wouldn't be fair... it's that bad.

Second: "Christmas Shoes." Longtime readers of this blog know I hate this maudlin piece if dreck, written to be played over the mall PA system to make you remember what Christmas is all about so that you feel bad enough that you remember you're human, and just by the fact of your feeling bad you are immediately absolved and ready to buy that big screen TV and SUV. God bless us, every one!

Third: "Santa Baby" Madonna's version. The original "Santa Baby" is not one of my favorite Christmas songs, but at least Eartha Kitt sounded like an adult woman (click here for comparison) . And that was sexy. Madonna is creeping me the hell out in her rendition, and has got me wondering who her target audience is.

And a half: If you really must, here's a live version of "Funky, Funky, Christmas". I cannot deny you the pleasure of the horror and the laughter that is this flashback to "New Kids on the Block" and their time of musical hegemony.

If you can't find something to mercilessly criticize in the above list, then I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion1. So, don't hold back.

Want to cleanse your palate? This is NOT SAFE FOR WORK, but here's a video that is an old favorite of this blog that came up in a search when I was looking for that stupid Christmas Shoes song. I personally think the robot is the the thing that gives this video real technological legitimacy, but the guy in the purple outfit pushes the video over into awesomeness. I give you: "Shoes."

1. If you don't get the reference, here's your explanation. But you need to rewatch Donnie Darko for the full effect. Tonight, if possible. This weekend, at the latest. The metaphor of the soul-killing that is Sparkle Motion demands no less.

Posted by James at December 11, 2008 9:03 AM
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Christmas Shoes must die. It is the Al Qaeda of Christmas songs.

Posted by: Bull at December 11, 2008 11:19 AM

“This One’s For the Children”

What is this supposed to be? To whom is this song directed? What is the aim here?

The singer has a thin, watery voice. The music is schmaltzy. This one’s for the children? Lucky them.

Lyrics? I give you: “I’m not trying to darken up your day/But help others in need/Show them there’s a better way.” Better than what? If you’re going to write a “song with a message,” make sure you include the message.

“Christmas Shoes”

Whispery “singing” is poor. She’s dying and you’re going to buy shoes so she can meet Jesus in good shoes? Huh? My overall comment on this song: Peeeeeeew.

“Santa Baby”

Is she trying to be an elf? A small child who smokes two packs a day? Unlike Eartha Kitt, Madonna’s version is as far from alluring as you can get. Her version proves my point when I say, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Wow. These are all bad.

Madonna’s song is crapola, but in the sense of a poorly-performed song—I am not offended by it other than that I’ve lost 2.5 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. This leaves me with the choice between a whispery, pained “singer” going on about dressing his wife for imminent death and a poorly constructed song about nothing performed by a guy with a squeaky voice.

As much as I hate a meandering, tuneless song about nothing, I shall spare “This One’s for the Children” for now.

On the basis that a song about dressing up for a fictitious super-being offends my intelligence, and that this “song” is completely unrelated to the Christmas spirit, I send “Christmas Shoes” to its death.

Posted by: Patti M. at December 11, 2008 1:21 PM

YouTube seems to be broken for me right now (I'm at home, so it's not a firewall issue), so I can't hear the Funky song. I can live with that, though.

The Shoes song and the Children song are horrible and they deserve to die, but I would at least find them easy to ignore while shopping, which is the only time I would be likely to hear either song.

On the other hand, not only does Madonna's rendition of Santa Baby affect me like nails on a chalkboard, it's effectively poisoned me against all versions of the song. And guess what... I only ever hear that one while shopping too. And believe me, I keep shopping to a minimum at this time of year. Yet, I still end up hearing it at least once per store visit.

Please kill it. Please. Please??

Posted by: Julie at December 11, 2008 1:31 PM

Given the apparent prominence of Shoes and Baby, perhaps we should all shop whilst wearing headphones.

Posted by: Patti M. at December 11, 2008 1:36 PM

OK, the YouTube is working for me now. Too bad, because now I've been exposed to Funky Funky Christmas and there's no way to unring that bell. Damn. It is definitely worse than all three other songs put together.

Fortunately, it seems to already be dead.

Posted by: Julie at December 11, 2008 1:41 PM

Ok. They ALL must die, really. But since that is not an option, we will have to let the lesser of the evils off the hook. And that includes "Shoes". I've never thought it was funny or clever or even a particularly good bit from a man in drag. So, in order:

Santa Baby: This is a dreadful rendition, but the song is actually pretty good. Given Madonna's vocal skills, it almost feels like she's mailing it in on this song. Not enough to kill it. Perhaps it just gets a charley horse.

This One's For the Children: Lame and barely musical, but musical nonetheless. Inoffensive and forgettable. And if I can forget it, I don't need to kill it.

Christmas Shoes: Gah! This is the musical equivalent to one of those viral internet memes about a random soldier who is snubbed by a self-righteous person and then needs and receives that soldiers help mere moments later. The true meaning of Christmas is giving terminally ill patients shoes so they are pretty when they die. It's sappy, syrupy, manipulative crap. I may hurl. Kill it before it makes me lose my lunch.

I'm not sure if Funky, Funky could beat that song head to head, but the video was pretty embarrassing. It wasn't musical. It wasn't clever. And when you get one upped in your own song by Arsenio Hall, it's time to hang it up.

Posted by: briwei at December 11, 2008 1:43 PM

Thank you Madonna for giving Santa Baby the treatment it actually deserves--it's ridiculous, and it should sound ridiculous. It's not a song I would choose to listen to, no matter who sings it. But this is the best of the four songs offered up for sacrifice.

As far as which song must die? I dunno, Christmas Shoes I guess... soppy depressing sappy country kitsche drives me up the friggin wall.

Funky Christmas is terrible, but it's just noise. This One's For the Children is meaningless meandering crap, but easy to ignore.

Thanks for the "Shoes" video... enjoyed that.

Posted by: Chuck S at December 11, 2008 2:11 PM

Yeah, I think the Shoes video is hilarious. I can't say why, but I love "these shoes suck!"

As much as I dislike Madonna's version of "Santa Baby," (and I think it's Eartha who has given that silly song a halfway respectable treatment.) I have to agree that Madonna's song is the least offensive of the three.

Posted by: James at December 11, 2008 2:22 PM

"Christmas Shoes must die. It is the Al Qaeda of Christmas songs."

OMG. Truer words were never spoken. It is the terrorist anthem designed to take down Christmas and it needs to die. And the movie version needs to instantly self-destruct with it.


Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at December 11, 2008 2:25 PM

I suffered through poor connectivity today to watch "Funky Funky Chrismas" and for what? I was embarrassed for them and found myself cringing through it. I had to stop after 1:08--too cringy.

As for the Shoes video, I've seen it before and just love it!

Posted by: Patti M. at December 11, 2008 2:39 PM

I love the "Shoes" video (Tom Skerrit...) so much I became a "Kelly" fan on Facebook...

Oh my God, BETCH!!!

He does other videos, too - I like the "Text Message Breakup" video.

Posted by: Bull at December 11, 2008 4:23 PM

Every time we play this game, my first reaction is always, simply,


Is any of this crapola from the heart? I think that's the problem. Music is supposed to be art, it's supposed to be some kind of expression of feeling, and what we're seeing, I think, is music or video or dance performance that is supposed to make money, so it's been twisted around and it's just yucky.

"Funky Funky Christmas," I wasn't going to look but people were commenting on it. OMG. When I think of Christmas, I DO NOT think of some teeny bopper heart-throb in a squeaky leather jacket baring his chest for da ladeez. Really. Just. Ewww.

Now of the choices for termination.

I'm glad this isn't for real. They all must die. I'm really amazed to read Madonna described as "talented" here. She is talented at self-promotion. Her Santa Baby is as icky as she is. I really don't mind the Eartha Kitt verison of Santa Baby. If you consider the options open to women at the time that song was written, it's not as ridiculous as it would be if it were written (or performed) now.

But it's not as bad as either of the other two.

"This One's for the children," ugh, ugh, ugh. I really hate tuneless music, I hate that genre of music, and I hate that this guy thinks he's saying something when he's not. Was it Patti who said he forgot the message? Good call, Patti. Ugh.

But Christmas Shoes must die. We all know it. This must've been written for the old ladies who get pissed off when somebody's kid wears ripped jeans or purple hair to church. We must dress nice for Jesus, and let's have a birthday cake for him on Christmas as well. DIE.

Posted by: Maggie at December 11, 2008 5:31 PM

Regarding ripped jeans in church: I think you can make an effort to dress like a civilized person for one day out of your week, and I don't even believe in god (or go to church, which I suppose is understood, given the previous comment).

Time and place, people. Please don't dress your kid in a Tom Brady shirt and send him to church. Sadder still is the adult man who wears a sports shirt with another man's name on it (to church or anywhere else), but that's a whole other discussion, one that Bob can expand on with great gusto.

Back to the topic at hand. Can we have a public smashing of a "Christmas Shoes" recording? Perhaps a stomping might be more appropriate given the whole shoes angle.

Posted by: Patti M. at December 11, 2008 7:05 PM

I agree Eartha Kitt is better, but thatled me to this Jazz one I really do like:

I couldn't handle the other stuff ;-)

Posted by: Greg at December 12, 2008 1:01 AM

R&B in general must die, it must be purged from the world.

I don't hate the Madonna version of that song so much. It reminds me of Betty Boop, and I'm sure it's a big hit with all the Burlesque dancers out there. I think that's what she was going for, that vintage girly girl voice.

And, Eartha Kitt is a goddess in every way.

Posted by: Rui at December 15, 2008 6:00 PM

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