The best of the worst Christmas music

What would Christmas be without Paul McCartney's “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae”?

December 16, 2014

The weather’s growing frosty and yule-like, but with temperatures falling, it also means that heart cockles are at their coldest. For that invaluable cockle warmth, this is when we call upon the Bublés and Connick Jrs of the world to fa and la us into a cozy sense of goodwill. But what about when our superstars fail us at the time we need them the most?

Here are the Christmas clunkers—the odd and off-putting holiday numbers that you are guaranteed not to hear filling the aisles of whatever superstore you have to brave this week.

C-3P0 and R2-D2 – “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

Is there any plausible reason that the robots from Star Wars would or should celebrate Christmas? The answer is an indisputable no, but that didn’t stop the release of “Christmas in the Stars” in 1980. This track features the first pre-fame performance of a young Jon Bon Jovi (credited as “Bongiovi”), whose producer ‘scousin hooked him up with the opportunity. So we have this song to thank for unleashing Jon Bon Jovi upon the world. Bah humbug!

Afroman – “O Chronic Tree”

Once again playing a serious dependency for laughs, Afroman swaps the classic tannenbaum for a green tree of a DIFFERENT variety! Marijuana. He wants to smoke marijuana. We know this song is funny because Afroman’s cronies giggle in the background at every line. When you need to bring a laughtrack into the studio with you, your song is bad.

William Hung – “Winter Wonderland”

Ah, William Hung. What fun society had laughing at you and your delusions of worth! When there was still believed to be money in him, Koch Records released his holiday album Hung for the Holidays, which included this number. Let’s count it as a Christmas present for everyone everywhere that American Idol is no longer popular enough for its annual “Lookit the Idiot Losers!” episode to pack any punch.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – “I Think You Might Like It”

Ever wonder what Sandy and Danny’s relationship would be like if they were still together today? Here’s your answer—oddly sexless! I’ll direct you to the music video, which features all of John Travolta’s loves in this world: airplanes, spray-painting hair on his head, and stretching his face skin tighter than a drum. Fun fact: most of this song’s percussion was played on his forehead.

Crazy Frog – “Jingle Bells”

Yes, it’s that old scourge of the late night cable commercial block, Crazy Frog. In the course of burrowing into sleep-deprived brains and laying eggs, he—it—that—apparently recorded a take on “Jingle Bells.” It annoyed and enraged all the way to no. 1 in New Zealand, just in case you needed a reason to never visit New Zealand. Now text STOP to 10112 to forget about Crazy Frog for the rest of your life.

Joe Pesci – “If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas”

Joe Pesci is not a rapper who named himself after the Goodfellas star for the gangster cred. This is actually Joe damn Pesci! Technically, it’s his character from My Cousin Vinny, Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, in the same way that this song is technically music. This is a salty language-laden version of the Gene Autry classic that doesn’t even try to go any further than that thin premise. You can picture the executive saying, “Fine, Joe, we’ll put out your vulgar single if you sign on for Lethal Weapon 5: The Final Cashgrab.” If you know anyone who’s fine with profanity in place of comedy—I call him Uncle Judd—then fish “Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You” out of the three-for-$1 bin and pocket the savings!

Paul McCartney – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae”

Around this time of year, people like to crap all over McCartney’s highly irritating “Wonderful Christmastime,” which is completely within their right. But they neglect the far worse instrumental B-side, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae.” Because nothing says reggae like a pale British man playing a fiddle line on a Casio keyboard.

Afroman – “The 12 Js of Christmas”

Oh my God, go away, Afroman! Yes, there was a time when Afroman’s cultural value was so high (pun not enjoyed) that he could release a full-length Christmas album. There’s actually no more compelling argument for legalization than that smoking weed is the only way to find Afroman funny.

Bob Dylan – “It Must Be Santa”

“Mommy, is that man going to kill Santa?” “Yes, honey.”

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