Yule Blog - Carol of the Basics

Oh Christmas music, one of the most divisive genres of music out there which is surprising due to all of the alleged good will and joy it is supposed to bring about for folks. In one corner, you have those people who simply adore every note, every chorus, every bridge of Christmas tunes. They usually start secretly playing it around Halloween time and then turn it up around Thanksgiving and then blow out their speakers the moment it's Black Friday. They thrill in all of the harmonies, find the abundance of sleigh bell noises to be the audio equivalent of a cashmere sweater wrapped around them and find the lyrics to be filled with a depth and earnestness sadly devoid in modern pop tunes.

In the other corner, there are the people who would gladly enjoy becoming deaf when the holiday season approaches. For them, Christmas music is music at its most nauseatingly twee, filled with empty sentiments, forced good cheer and lyrics that are mind-numbingly stupid. A segment of these people may have started out as Christmas music supporters but soon had all of that stomped out of them when they had the misfortune of working retail during the holiday season. For about a week, they probably were excited to hear their favorite Christmas tunes piping through the ceiling speakers of their workplace but soon it became like Chinese water tortue put to cheery music as songs endly repeat themselves day by day.

So these are sort of diametrically opposed groups right? Absent of any sort of common ground? Right. Wrong. Good Christmas music won't bring them together but god awful songs can raise the ire of even the most jolly. And trust us, there is a lot of crap Christmas music as every record company forces artists to put out albums to make a little chunk of change, every has-been/never-was cobbles together some tunes to make an album due to relative small expense since most traditional Christmas tunes are public domain at this point and every Disney/Nickelodeon star seemingly puts out a Christmas album in their short tenure of popularity before their respective company takes them somewhere in Kansas and shoots them when they get too noticeably old (we emphasize NOTICEABLY since the dude that play's Miley Cyrus' older brother on "Hannah Montana" is like somewhere between 30 and Shady Pines Retirement Home in age).

For us, we love all things tacky and terrible. I mean, we saw "Burlesque" AND "Sex and the City 2" in the theatres based simply on the fact that awfulness in that large and glittering proportions needs to be enjoyed a screen large enough to capture the full breadth of a trainwreck. In some ways, we enjoy a terrible Christmas tune more than a good one since so many, even of the best Christmas tunes, are dry as white toast. At least with a bad song, you can spend time marveling at all of the bad decision making that went into recording, producing and music video-ing these three to four minutes of self-respect-free audio brilliance.

So that is why we are devoting today's "Yule Blog" to the bad, the worse, and the truly basic when it comes to Christmas tunes. Let's get to it because we are ridiculously excited for this, expressed below in the following .gif:

First up, we take on the hot mess that was Destiny's Child and their Christmas album "8 Days of Christmas." We love us some Destiny's Child. "The Writing's On The Wall" was one of our favorite albums to listen to on our Discman in the noisy commons of our high school so we're not just haphazardly throwing shade about at Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Black!Michelle Williams. Below, the main single of the album, "8 Days of Christmas" because these girls spent so much time on the road as children they were never taught how to count. Maybe? Anyway, the song and video is below, filled with question vocal and visual styling choices:

Now, Beyonce and her alleged lyric writing has always been suspect as she has gifted the world with such meaningful lines like, "I can do for you what Martin did for the people." Gurl, we sure as hell hope you were referring to Martin Lawrence and not Martin Luther King, Jr. This Christmas album is no different as "8 Days of Christmas" flits back and forth between crass commercialism and sickly sentimentality with disingenuous ease.

We will give the group credit for letting everybody get a solo on the album. Lord knows, Beyonce's daddy would only let a girl get a whole song to herself on a Christmas album where that shit doesn't matter at all. Below, Black!Michelle Williams takes the lead on "O Holy Night" and sounds exactly like a less vocally talented Macy Gray. With a head cold. There is a reason why you only go to sing the bridge on stuff like "Bootylicious" and "Survivor."

And can we just talk about the cover, as seen above. Ladies, contouring makeup is a styling choice. NOT A LIFESTYLE.

Next up, we move onto the always flopping Jessica Simpson as she tries to peddle her seemingly umpteenth Christmas album with a PBS special.

Girl, the only thing thicker on you than your thighs is your lipgloss. And you know what's an awesome way to minimize your current weight gain? Wearing a tight short dress with GEOMETRIC PATTERNS all over it? We'll give Jessica Simpson credit for still having her voice and actually singing again after she went through that REALLY deeply unfortunate period when she stopped actually singing and picked up that annoying Britney Spears whipser-sing manner. We blame SNL for having Jessica Simpson do a fairly dead-on impersonation of Ms. Spears years ago and obviously planting the idea in her head.

We, on a certain level, feel bad for Jessica Simpson. I mean, she really was an also-ran when it came to the girls of the teen pop era, towering over only Mandy Moore. Try as she might to make some sort of headway, even in the midst of "Newlyweds" mania, Simpson always lagged behind the other ladies. Her whole career is like the equivalent of one of those last minute gifts you buy at Wal-Green's on the way to a Christmas party you've just been informed there is going to be gifts exchanged at. You receive it and know that person tried under the circumstances to come up with something somewhat meaningful but deep down you just want to say to them and their effort:

Jessica Simpson was even joined by her sister Ashlee Simpson to sing a tune. What Ashlee has been doing since having a flop of an alum some moons ago, popping out a kid, marrying Pete "Have You Seen the Size of My" Wentz, filing down her nose, and being let-go of the floptastic "Melrose Place" reboot (which if a flop is kicked off a flop, are they really a flop? Or is their flopness exponentially increased by being so basic? DEEP PHILISOPHICAL QUESTIONS TODAY ON THE MAJAK KINGDOM) we aren't quite sure of. Anyway, below super skinny Ashlee and thickalicious Jessica Simpson sing together while showing off how food issues come in a variety of packages.

Since we used a Whitney Houston .gif, we might as well quickly mention her stupdendously awful Christmas album "One Wish:The Holiday Album." We're pretty sure we know what Whitney's one wish was during this period of career. And it involved some papers and some OOOOO WEEEE.

You have to appreciate Whitney randomly shouting "Happy Hanukkah" in a song titled "The Christmas Song.

Moving on, we head into the wide world of Disney and specifically how Disney likes to make every blond bimbo with thin vocals ruin the Wham! classic tune "Last Christmas."

First up, Hilary Duff:

We don't know what is sadder: Hilary's thin vocals OR the fact that was probably tapping into Aaron Carter angst to dig into the meaning of the tune.

Bonus: Hilary's own horrible contribution to the Christmas songbook in the form of "Santa Claus Lane."

Next up "High School Musical" star and Cindy Lou Who look-alike Ashley Tisdale takes on the tune.

We'll give Ashley Tisdale's nose a pass since it hadn't quite "settled" yet at the time of the performance. What we can't forgive is the awful amount of giddy posing and strutting that is happening in a tune about heartbreak and hurt. But I guess putting a totally unnecessary dance-pop beat underneath it all sort of counters the feelings as well.

It's pretty restrained compared to Cascada trying to turn "Last Christmas" into something to be played in a tent club in Ibiza.

This video highlights the continuing lesson we gained from watching "101 Dalmatians" as a child: NEVER TRUST A WOMAN WHO PURPOSELY HAS TWO-TONE HAIR. They are inherently up to no good.

Next up Bryan Adams and his terrible Christmas song "Something about Christmas Time."

It's like if you took Bryan Adams' song "All For One" for the "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" soundtrack, chopped out all of the catchiness, eliminated Sting and Rod Stewart and added buckets of holiday cheer, you would end up with "Something about Christmas Time."

The reason we can't completely hate on the song is because it always makes us want to go listen to Billy Mack's "Christmas is All Around," which is like it's sonically superior cousin.

Lastly, we end this big ole list of fail with the one, the only, the Aiken.

Ugh, Clay Aiken. Does anybody remember when he actually had a career of note? Anybody? For those of you who survived the Clay mania of the early 2000s, props to you. If he wasn't so terrible and his voice didn't annoy us so much, we'd actually be sort of disheartened that Clay's career is so shitty that he resorted to making commercials in order to sell his albums.

It's amazing that it is, for once, actually necessary for an announcer to differentiate songs for me since Clay and his army of producers are able to reduce everything into one big wall of middle-age lady pleasing Adult Contempo pop. Kudos!

We thank everybody for reading today's Yule Blog and if any of these choices made you mad because you love them, all we can say here at the Majak Kingdom is:

Be sure to come back tomorrow when we pit different takes on Christmas tunes for holiday supremacy in our "Christmas Songs DEATH MATCH."

Missed a Yule Blog? Want to relive the holidazzle of it all? Click on the "Yule Blog" tag and catch up!

No comments: