Does Christmas music really get worse every year? Or is it just an illusion, and it’s always been this awful? Oddly enough, I think both are true. Let me explain.
I take it for granted that everybody agrees Christmas music is terrible. If it weren’t, you’d listen to it all year. But you spare yourself that torment for roughly eleven months each year, because you can. (Those few of you who are now getting frothy flecks of Cheetos all over your screens by shouting “I listen to it all year” should find each other and form a support group.)
The thing is, Christmas music ages terribly. Sure, we all know the few standards that have stood the test of time. But for every one of those, there are hundreds of other tunes that we’ve all chosen to forget. Every year, the Sentimental-Industrial Complex churns out countless hours of bad new Christmas music.
The new ones aren’t worse than last year’s new ones. They’ve always been dreadful. But the old ones have gotten worse as they’ve aged, and the accumulated weight of awfulness is greater with each passing year.
And along with the bad new songs, each year we get fresh desecrations of the old standards. Which brings me to Neil Diamond. You might think I’m about to talk about “Happy Christmas (War Is Over).” No. He’s done worse. Here is Neil’s presentation of George Frideric Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. It’s just as Handel himself would have wanted it, if only he had had the benefit of Neil’s hipness, and a drum kit and microphone.
I didn’t think I’d ever say it, folks, but this might be as bad as Bond.