The Headphone Wack: Horrid holiday hits

Simon, Alvin and Theodore beam at the prospects of their first holiday together with Dave Seville.

For some people, the holidays can be a special kind of hell. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas music — providing it’s actually after Thanksgiving.

However, some holiday music deserves to be thrown into a bottomless pit and scrubbed from our collective consciousness. After talking with friends and family I’ve come up with six songs that should never be played again.


“Christmas Shoes” — NewSong

“Christmas Shoes” is what happens when a bad Hallmark Christmas movie is smashed together with Eeyore's outlook on life — and it even got its own TV movie on CBS in 2002.

For the uninitiated: “Christmas Shoes” is the depressing story of a little kid who just wants to buy his mom shoes before she kicks the bucket on Christmas Eve and ruins the holiday for him forever.

“Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there's not much time/ You see she's been sick for quite a while / And I know these shoes would make her smile / And I want her to look beautiful if mama meets Jesus tonight”

Who in their right mind thought that a depressing story about cancer was what the Christmas song genre needed more of? Apparently, it isn’t bad enough that we have to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” a thousand times between Nov. 1 and Dec. 26 — we also have to hear this kid’s tragic story over and over again.

On top of that, the song also pushes for a return to a Jesus-centric focus of Christmas. I don’t know if NewSong know this or not, but making people associate a religious Christmas with a dying mother isn’t exactly a great link. At least when Santa brings you a crappy gift, it’s coal instead of your dead mom.


“Wonderful Christmastime” — Paul McCartney

Look y’all: Paul McCartney has made some incredible music in his lifetime. I like most of The Beatles’ discography.

This song is a steaming turd that makes me wonder if The Beatles were actually good at all.

The song is 3 minutes and 48 seconds long, and McCartney sings the words “Simply having a wonderful Christmastime” 14 times — even though it echoes through your brain so many times it feels like McCartney never stops singing it.

It takes about 5 seconds each time he sings it. That translates to a full minute and 10 seconds of that horrendous, monotonous but somehow catchy line. That’s more than a quarter of the song!

The worst part, though, the absolute worst part, is the song gets stuck in your head. I have a theory that McCartney secretly wrote the song to inspire someone to take him out one day after the listener got the song stuck in their head for too long — that’s how annoying but catchy the song is.

Of course, people are allowed to like this song. It’s catchy and McCartney makes technically sound music. But for the love of God, don’t subject others to this.


“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)" — Alvin and the Chipmunks

I can understand how a lot of holiday songs get popular, even really annoying ones like “Wonderful Christmastime.” I don’t understand how this particular brand of musical torture wormed its way into our culture.

Seriously, who over the age of 6 thinks this is a good song? If you forced someone to listen to this song more than three times in a row it would be considered a war crime. 

If you went on a chipmunk murdering spree after hearing this song one day, I’m pretty sure even PETA would understand.

Somehow, the autotuned update from the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks movie is almost worst. I say almost because it’s impossible for anything to be worse than the helium-induced nightmare of the original. 


“Dominick The Donkey” — Lou Monte

The first time I heard this song, I was mostly confused. After a second listen, I was annoyed. By the third go around, I hated donkeys, Italy and the very concept of Christmas.

This is quite possibly the weirdest holiday song out there — and there is a song about a grandmother being involved in a hit-and-run with a mythical guy in a flying sleigh.

Apparently, jolly old St. Nick needs Dominick the Donkey to help him deliver presents to the children of Italy because the reindeer are incapable of handling the country’s hills. Somehow, the flying, magical reindeer that somehow get Santa to the house of every single person overnight aren’t capable of handling a few hills, so we have been cursed with 59 years of a song that thinks “hee-haw hee-haw” is a fun sound effect to get stuck in your head.

This song made me hate all donkeys, real and imaginary. Now I hate “Shrek,” and that’s just not fair to me or Eddie Murphy.


“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” — Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer

I doubt the original composer meant to imply anything malicious when the song was written in 1944, but in 2019 this song is undeniably creepy.

According to Wikipedia, the character pushing someone to stay is called “Wolf” and the character trying to leave is called “Mouse.” They’re literally predator and prey. Metaphors about assault can’t really get any clearer than that.

I’m sure it was originally meant to be a fun, lighthearted song, but society’s expanding understanding of what constitutes sexual assault alongside the current climate we live in means that this song has to go home — and hopefully nobody tries to convince it that it needs to stay.


"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" — Elmo and Patsy

While, there are plenty of holiday songs that are bad or vulgar like Blink-182’s “Happy Holidays, You Bastard” or Alan Jackson’s “Daddy Please Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” that might deserve a spot on this list,  “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” is quite possibly the dumbest song in all of pop culture, and it’s a staple of Christmas radio stations.

Sure, The Killer’s “Human” asks us if we’re human or dancers — whatever that means — but at least we can all pretend there’s some deeper metaphor there. 

My personal headcanon is that Santa had a little too much eggnog and shouldn’t have been driving when the incident occurred.

If nothing else, this song belongs on this list because it somehow inspired an animated TV movie in the early 2000s that was bad enough it demands retribution.

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