With the passage of American Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is officially upon us. This means that every department store under the sun is currently in the process of blasting gaudy Christmas music for the rest of the month.
I don’t dislike Christmas, but this genre of music always makes me rethink my opinion of the holiday season. It is the worst kind of music: it’s unoriginal, it’s ridiculously commercialized, and it’s sometimes utterly horrifying.
First of all, how often do you hear any new Christmas songs? Never, because artists are constantly redoing the old ones.
“Silent Night” was a nice little carol when Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber wrote it in 1818. But since then it has been remade by just about every high-profile artist in the business, from Frank Sinatra to Beyoncé. It’s exhausting listening to the same mediocre songs three or four times in a shopping mall playlist.
Christmas music is also undoubtedly one of the most commercialized genres in all of music. For 11 months of the year, if a musician wants to sell his or her album, they need to produce new music and market it effectively. But as soon as December hits, real marketing goes out the window and is replaced by cookie cutter Christmas albums. None of the music on these albums is original or innovative. It is just cover upon cover of overplayed Christmas tunes.
These albums are nothing more than a cash-grab, created by reasonably well-known artists who are targeting those of us with no idea what to buy our grandparents for Christmas.
Moreover, some famous Christmas songs are just plain horrifying in terms of their lyrical content.
For example, the song “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” might have been amusing the first time you heard it, but if you listen to its lyrics closely you come to realize the horrifying nature of the song. The cheerful tune doesn’t quite match the upsetting lyrics about a drunken grandmother getting trampled to death by reindeer.
Also, lets not forget about “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” a charity song that spouts condescending nonsense about how the entire continent of Africa is a barren wasteland where nobody would want to live.
And don’t even get me started on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which is pretty much a seasonal anthem for date rape.
And yet, despite the disturbing connotations, these songs are played endlessly at shopping malls, grocery stores, and coffee shops throughout the holiday season.
Christmas music as a genre is pretty awful. There are a very small number of songs, some genuinely terrifying, which are remade by every artist in a cynical attempt to rake in the dough during the highly commercialized holiday season. Needless to say, I’ll have a much easier time getting into the holiday spirit if I don’t have to hear any Christmas music this December.