Misguided melody

It’s our first post-Sept. 11 Christmas — last year didn’t count ’cause all of 2001’s Christmas magic was already in the can by summer’s end. This year, people had time to overthink the whole Yuletide music idea and decided that it wouldn’t be appropriate for our nation to look like it’s having too much holiday cheer. So we look to the ghosts of Christmas past to provide the sound track to our-not-so-fun Noel this year. If we grit our teeth and put our most depressing holiday fodder in heavy rotation this year, it’ll send a powerful message to our nation’s enemies — you can’t kill our holiday spirit and you’re not gonna force us to enjoy Christmas either. Please sit a while and sample some of the biggest holiday buzzkills this side of Tiny Tim’s lonely crutch in the corner, won’t you?

1. “Do They Know It’s Christmas”
Band Aid

Sure, it’s become a holiday staple. But with the aid to famished Ethiopians long since dispatched and forgotten about, all we’re left with is a sanctimonious piece of merry melodrama — “It’s a Small World (After All)” for overemoting rock stars. Wake up and tell the kiddies that just outside the window is “a world of fear and dread,” with the familiar jingle bells we usually enjoy now secretly being replaced by “the clanging chimes of doom.” These are the actual lyrics, people. What, no circling army of flies instead of mistletoe? St. Bob of Geldolf may have been rightly canonized for his humanitarian efforts, but it’s downright devilish the way he forced Sting to be the bearer of “the bitter sting of tears”; the way he showed us that off-key Simon Le Bon’s only concerned with “having fun”; made Bono yelp, “thank God it’s them instead of yooooo” like Leona Helmsley ragging on the little people. And — worst of all — allowed future men’s room attendant George Michael to exclaim “At Christmas time it’s hard.”

2. Christina Aguilera
My Kind of Christmas

The thing you marvel at about “Xtina” on this X-mess, is how she takes nearly every one-syllable word in “The Christmas Song” — like “way,” “sleigh,” “spy,” “fly” and even “the” — and stretches them to eight syllables, sometimes clumping them together for 12 or 15 meaningless hiccups. If Grandma ever does get run over by a reindeer, this is not the person you want to be making the 911 call.

3. “Daddy’s Drinking up our Christmas”
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

Tit for tat, since Daddy’s rotten kid drove that Hot Rod Lincoln into road rubble.

4. “I Believe in Father Christmas”
Greg Lake

I’m inclined not to put any stock in Father C. if he brought Carl Palmer so much as one new gong.

5. “Christmas Time Again”
Lynyrd Skynrd

Everybody’s favorite pyromaniacs resurfaced in 2000 on the CMC (cash my check?) label. But no “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Freebird”? Sleet Survivors? “What’s Your Name, Little Elf”? “Sweet Gnome Alabama”? This bites. Act now and get the recalled sleeve with Santa and his reindeers going down in flames.

6. “Christmas Day”

Who else but these nerdy wordsmiths would rhyme “messiah” with “the treads around a tire” or group Mary and Joseph with other great comedy teams like Laurel & Hardy and Morecambe & Wise?

7. “Another Lonely Christmas”

The flip side to “I Would Die 4 U” finds Prince berating his Apollonia 6-foot-under for dying on December 25 and ruining his holidays forever. And may all YOUr christmases be purple.

8. “Thank God it’s Christmas”

Having the usually frivolous Queen get all sanctimonious on us is like your drunken Aunt Celeste showing up for the holidays in a sensible dress instead of her usual antlers and holiday tchotchkes ensemble.

9. “Christmas Crush”

Nerd punk may be over but I don’t think we can ever hear someone whining “Santa, get off my girlfriend” too many times.

10. “Dearest Santa”
Bobby Vinton

“It’s a Hard Knock Life” comes to Branson, Mo. The Polish Prince turns the self-pity spotlight over to an orphanage of begging kids who promise Santa they’ll be good — just give them a mommy and a daddy. (Insert uncontrollable sobs.)

11. “Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year (Parts 1 & 2)”
James Brown

The hardest-working man in show business points up the futility of the holiday by asking his sidemen, “Can I tell them how to make Christmas mean something?” without telling them anything until you flip the 45 over to Part 2.

12. White Christmas
Bing Crosby

Lotsa folks stopped playing Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Pt. II” at sporting events because he was downloading kiddie porn, yet we continue to blast Bing Crosby’s holiday music even though we know he bub-bub-bub-beat the tar out of his four sons. Too bad David Fricke doesn’t write the liner notes to the perpetually reissued Bing holiday platter. Then we’d get the real dope on crusty Cros: “It is a striking measure of the crooner’s blinding holiday pop artistry that he could lead the Andrews Sisters through a fire-crackling “12 Days of Christmas” in the merry month of May and still be home in time to pummel the boys mercilessly with an 8-iron.”

Serene Dominic will get coal in his stocking this year. E-mail [email protected]
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