So, what are you doing waiting up for Santa Claus? I’m spending it typing a follow-up to my post from earlier this week about holiday music I have to scrunch my nose at. Apparently, I’m not the only one who puts holiday perennials into the category of HateSong (™A.V. Club). NPR’s Morning Edition put out a feeler to listeners inquiring which holiday songs they find the worst, and aired a couple of responses this morning. Like me, most of them had a distaste for “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and its now clearly creepy connotations about some creepy guy not wanting to let some girl leave. (Really, dude, can’t you take “no” for an answer?”) Another Morning Edition listener also had valid distaste for “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” especially having to hear it on the radio while driving back from her own grandmother’s funeral two weeks before Christmas. Both songs, and a few others, do have their (red state?) defenders in the NPR comments section. But when it comes to holiday cheer, I’ll take real Christmas songs over creepy romanticizing and “ironic humor” any day.
That’s not to say arguments over holiday songs should be limited to which ones are the worst. This week as well, Man Repeller writers Amelia Diamond and Kate Barnett had a back-and-forth about which songs go underappreciated during the holidays, along with a few they can’t stand. For the latter, they talk about something I failed to mention in my earlier post: Songs by the likes of Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra get played so much yet can really grate. Yeah, they’re the type of groups who blend Christmas and classical music with heavy-metal rock. It still puzzles me as to why album rock radio tends to play them with a straight face at this time of the year. At least Ms. Diamond and Ms. Barnett give lots of space (and some praise) to holiday songs even I’ve never heard of before, including one called “The Holly & The Ivy,” a choir version of which they embedded in their article (a very beautiful rendition)
Speaking of radio, I alluded in my earlier post about how radio stations tend to play the same moldy holiday chestnuts every Christmas season (“repetitiveness” is the appropriate word). Sometimes what drives me crazy is when some stations play a holiday song from out of the blue, chestnuts that clearly don’t fit the format. For example, below is a screenshot of an actual hour’s playlist (Wednesday afternoon) from an actual Top 40 radio station here in Wisconsin. I won’t name said station here, although they are what’s termed a “heritage” Top 40 station, i.e. a station that’s been playing Top 40 music for so long, the grandparents of today’s teenyboppers grew up listening to it. And judging from a playlist that goes from Burl Ives to Justin Bieber and Kid Rock to Bing Crosby, it’s clear they still cater to Grandma and Grandpa during the holiday season.
Needless to say, as I write this (Christmas Eve night), said station is now wall-to-wall with the holiday kick, an understandable mood as everyone is in (or should be in) a Christmas mood while waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney. But, still, I’m still hoping they’d squeeze in a current hit from, say, Selena Gomez or The Weeknd or someone. Oh, well.