A Paul McCartney dud tops the list after we asked readers for their most hated seasonal tunes and they responded in droves. Check out the full list of “cringe-inducing, hokey and stupidly inane” tracks.
‘Tis the season for tinsel, colorfully wrapped packages, spectacularly decorated Christmas trees, good cheer … and dreadful, overplayed holiday tunes.
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Like having knitting needles jabbed into your ears.
Like scraping nails on a chalkboard.
Or, as some Local Spins readers put it: “Cringe-inducing.” “Hokey, sentimental schlock.” “Stupidly inane and repetitive.”
Our recent Question of the Week posed to readers unleashed a cavalcade of picks for the worst Christmas songs ever, and there was little doubt which clunker, dud and musical rattletrap came out on top:
Paul McCartney’s 1979 hit single, “Wonderful Christmastime,” by far, attracted more scorn, revulsion and disgust than any other seasonal melody on record.
“ ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ by McCartney is the Schrodinger’s cat of Christmas songs,” scoffs Local Spins writer and reader Tricia Boot Woolfenden. “Deadly dull and impossibly annoying. How does it manage to be both?”
Interestingly, this rancid, sappy slice of holiday music that soared to No. 1 on our “Rotten Holiday Songs Chart” earns McCartney an estimated $400,000 a year in royalties, according to Wikipedia, so he may have the last laugh on all of us.
(And as bad as “Wonderful Christmastime” might be, it stands out as a gem compared to Macca’s B-side: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae.” That’s not a typo. That song exists.)
Of course, plenty of other musical debacles irritate folks around the holidays. “Little Drummer Boy,” NewSong’s “The Christmas Shoes” and Elmo & Patsy’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” all drew double-digit derision from Local Spins readers.
So, as selected by readers in our highly unscientific poll, here’s the Top 10 list of “Most Wretched Christmas Songs Ever” with music and videos for you to ignore and excoriate. Go on. Get ‘em out of your system. (On the flip side, this week we’re asking: What’s your favorite Christmas song and why? Email responses to email@example.com.)
THE TOP 10 MOST WRETCHED CHRISTMAS SONGS
1. “Wonderful Christmastime,” Paul McCartney
Comments: “ ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ is maybe the worst song ever recorded.” – Josh Giebel
“It’s the song that makes me reach for the dial.’ – James Murphy
“I like Paul McCartney, but cannot stand this song.”– Jennifer Alexander
“One of his worst ever.” – Daniel P. Hudelson
2. “Little Drummer Boy” (many versions)
Comment: “If I was Mary, I’d break that drummer kid’s sticks and then put his head through the drum head. Shut up.” – Jerry Kolb
3. “The Christmas Shoes,” NewSong
Comment: “I recently discovered the song on my buddy Justin Stover’s “Worst Songs to Have Sex To” playlist. It’s still bad. It’s still so, so bad.” – Emilee Petersmark
4. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” Elmo & Patsy
Comment: “So grim. And also, why?” – Radel Rosin
5. “Last Christmas,” Wham!
Comments: “It grates at my soul more than anything I’ve ever heard. It’s nonsensical and repetitive. I hate it. And I’m not sure I can say that about any other song.” – John Mulder
“I absolutely cannot stand ‘Last Christmas’ or ‘Wonderful Christmastime.’ They are both stupidly inane and repetitive, they are truly like nails on a chalkboard for me.” – Sarah Delia Sundt
6. “Santa Baby” (many versions)
Comment: “ ‘Santa Baby’ is wretched. Sexism: Check. Materialism: Check. It’s time to chuck that song out of the catalog.” – Geoff Fields
7. “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” Band Aid
Comments: “Who knew British people could be so racist in their attitudes about other parts of the world?” – Brian J. Bowe
“(It is) so-o-o cringe.” – Tricia Boot Woolfenden
8. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (many versions, though the one by Jackson 5 was cited most often)
Comment: “(The Jackson 5 version) is loud. Hard to take …” – Mary Ellen Murphy
9. “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” Burl Ives
Comment: “We’ve been SO saturated with that one. I could go at least 10 years without hearing it.” – Lin Otherlyn
10. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” Gayla Peevey
Comment: “Cringe-inducing.” – Thomas Leonard Saxe
Honorable Mentions:“Jingle Bells” by the Barking Dogs and “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”
Check out the full list of readers’ picks online here.
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