I mean, really? Who listens to the type of music that inundates the airwaves around Yuletide? Who “fa la la la las” on months other than December? What gives artists the sudden excuse to start using excessive amounts of sleigh bells and children’s choirs? I must get to the bottom of this.
In the mean time, this is an open letter to whomever listens to, writes, or plays Christmas music. At all. I am going to lay down some rules for good Christmas music.
1. The main instrument should not be a sleigh bell. In fact, sleigh bells are not even instruments. If you want to give one a jolly jingle every now and then, that’s fine, but if your piece requires a dedicated percussionist just to jangle some holiday cheer, please don’t. (On a related note, children’s choirs should be used sparingly and preferably for epic or solemn occasions, not in every Christmastime song that is otherwise lacking. Example.)
2. Christmas music should reflect the style of the artist performing. House of Heroes’ (a usually upbeat alternative rock band) cover of “Silent Night” is a perfect example of a band failing in this regard. I like most of HoH’s music, but their version of Silent Night is just the vocalist and guitar. Very sleep inducing.
3. This, being not always the fault of the artist, is yet a major problem with Christmas music. RADIO STATIONS SHOULD PLAY ONE SONG NO MORE THAN TWICE PER DAY. I despise the song “Christmas Shoes.” It’s not all that terrible of a song, but I really would not have listened to it more than once. If I were to play the same radio station all day, I’m sure I would hear far too many repeats.
4. Music written to be “cutesy,” “fun,” or “strange” should not be played all the time on mainstream radio. That defeats the purposes of the songs. A great example of this would be “Santa Baby” (unless, of course, that song was intended to be played over and over, in which case I think that anyone who covers it should be forced to take remedial music lessons and have their music-making licenses revoked).
5. If music has been used as a theme in a children’s cartoon (with the exception of instrumentals), uses any made up words, or cannot be reasonably enjoyed by anyone sane who listens to it, it should not be allowed to continue.
In short, good Christmas music should be enjoyable, contain reasonable lyrics, and not be mainly intended for audiences under the mental age of five. Is that too much to ask?
I leave you with some good Christmas music: