Anyone who knows me, or anyone who has read my December posts from past years, knows that I love holiday music. I binge it every year starting the day after Thanksgiving. It always makes me happy. I’ve written many things about my favorite holiday songs. Today, I thought I’d try something a little different and talk about those rare holiday songs that I don’t like. But, you should definitely make up your own mind about them, so I’ll include a link to the best available version that I’m aware of.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
I don’t actually know the whole history of this song, but in my mind it’s everything I don’t like about musical theater. It’s so busy being clever that it forgets to be enjoyable. Plus, it’s not, on any level, a holiday song. Here we have Betty Carter and Ray Charles singing it. Betty Carter is always great, and Ray Charles is the greatest, so they elevate it above the other versions.
Little Drummer Boy
I’m normally a “lyrics don’t matter” kind of guy, but who plays drums for a newborn? It’s just weird. And most versions play it so straight. It would be better if they leaned into the ridiculousness of it. At least The Campbell Brothers (@CampbellBros) give it some funk and soul. And it helps that it’s an instrumental.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
I get the joke. I really do. Santa Claus is really Daddy, but the kid doesn’t know it. It’s not funny, though. And I know I’m bringing heteronormative, monogamous, nuclear family baggage in, but it wouldn’t be a laugh if Daddy saw Mommy messing around with another guy, and I don’t know what kid would be so excited about it. The Ronettes (@RonnieSpectorGS, @TheRonettes1) are always fun, though.
Grown Up Christmas List
This song is just such a downer. It’s maudlin. It’s not even a little bit fun. And the lyrics/sentiment strike me as very adolescent. It’s what a teenager thinks they’ll feel as an adult. But, Jane Monheit’s (@JaneMonheit) voice is, as always, gorgeous.
Santa is a happily married man. He shouldn’t be buying expensive gifts for other women. He and his elves make gifts for children. And the level of greed, it just doesn’t feel Christmas-y. Great jazz musicians can do wonders with even the worst material, though.
I think that’s enough for now. Tell me why I’m wrong. I like having my mind changed.