Christmas Music is Awful

Since we’ve passed Thanksgiving, we’ve come into the time of year when you can play Christmas music without fear of being murdered by retail employees. But there’s something you should all know about Christmas music … and it’s this: It’s awful.

Okay, so not 100% of it is awful but like, 95% is at least. The melodies are simplistic so they’re more likely to get embedded in your subconscious and easier to sing along with in your car before you realize what you’re doing and go “OH GOD WHAT AM I DOING?!?” The lyrics sound like they could have been written by a four-year-old with only the most basic grasp of the holiday.

There are exceptions to this rule. “Joseph, Better You Than Me” by The Killers is one of the most beautiful and heart-rending takes on the religious Christmas story I’ve ever heard. “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses (and, later, by the Spice Girls) is a whirlwind tale of the kind of near misses that seem all too common when you’re trying to connect with someone you like. There are others, but the reason why they’re notable is BECAUSE so many Christmas songs are an insult to the art of song-writing.

The truth is, though, that there are far more bad songs than good out there, period. This is accurate of every genre on the planet. Yes, most bad music gets abandoned as time marches on and we just maintain the illusion that things like Carly Rae Jepsen never happened (please, world, get on my level with that one, at least). But for some reason, at Christmas time, we haul out every terrible song that’s ever been written about December 25th or anything related to it the way you lug out those strings of Christmas lights that you know burned out four years ago but somehow always end up in the box of decorations again. Let’s be honest, there’s no reason for “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” to ever be listened to more than twice unless you’re five AND YET, there it is again. Every year. Like clockwork.

This year, demand better of your Christmas music. Don’t be taken in by cheap sentimentality or a list of things that are connected to happy holiday memories with no skill or talent in the delivery.  Or, if you must listen to the aural equivalent of Little Debbie Christmas Cakes, at least have the decency to keep it to your own car so the rest of us don’t have to suffer. Happy Holidays!
You can contact Genevieve, the author of this post, at

5 thoughts on “Christmas Music is Awful

  1. You are right. Paul McCartney is generally a decent songwriter, but when faced with a Christmas composition, gave us the odious “Wonderful Christmas Time.” How did that even happen.

    “Father Christmas” by the Kinks is soooooooo amazing. Both poignant and badass. So it is never on the radio. Also great: Beatles cover band the Fab Four does Christmas-Beatles hybrids that are a lot of fun.

  2. Your post freed up an old, old memory of a wonderful Christmas tune. “I Believe in Father Christmas”, by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. It’s got the right amount of Christmassy-ness, but also is a beautiful tune with the right amount of spirit.

  3. The General Specific by Band of Horses isn’t really a Christmas song except that it mentions “the end of December” but it just SOUNDS like Christmas to me.

  4. Just remembered another personal favorite: “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues. It was a staple of my early Christmases and then took a vacation when my parents decided that a precocious four year old gleefully singing “You’re an old slut on junk” wasn’t as adorable as it may sound. I rediscovered it years later and immediately began singing along just as gleefully as I had as a toddler.

  5. not sure how you intend your post.

    if you literally mean ALL Xmas music ever released, yes at least 95% sucks. probably 99%.

    but … there are also literally hundreds of wonderful Xmas songs and dozens of great albums recorded by great artists over the decades. many hours worth. the fact they are so familiar often allows the artists to have fun and loosen up creatively with them too.

    if you don’t know that and haven’t found them, i feel very sorry for you. if you don’t believe that, well you’re just a music grinch.

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