My in-depth exploration of all things Christmas music continues tonight with one of pop music’s laziest traditions – the Christmas cover song. A lot of bands and singers record holiday albums because it’s simple, takes no time and earns a buttload of cash, while other acts pump them out as B-sides and ironic tributes to the holiday, as if they’re saying, “Here’s a Christmas song you know, but this is an artistic version that we don’t want money for.” Haha, sure, Coolio.
Even the boy bands of the 90s had someone write brand new songs for them to perform for their screaming teenage girl fans, no matter how stupid and simple the songs were (that’s another post coming soon), so there’s really no excuse that bands keep covering the same Christmas songs over and over. Except, of course, money.
Some bands record worse versions of Christmas hits than others, and to drive home my point I have put together some examples of covers that should have never been recorded.
A lot of artists have recorded versions of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” which was performed and recorded flawlessly by Brenda Lee in 1958. In recent years, Miley Cyrus, Michael Buble and Slayer (I think) have all taken a shot at this classic song, but none with more zest and ridiculousness than the brothers Hanson.
Maybe if the song’s original title was “Be Infectiously Catchy to the Point that it’s Infuriating Around the Christmas Tree,” this song would have remained clear of this list.
As we all know, the 80s were a very special time, and I don’t need to get too deep into remembering them, since there was an entire network devoted to that for the better part of the 90s and 00s. But what popular Christmas songs never actually needed was that typical 80s pop sound swallowing them up like demons from the darkest depths of hell. The Cocteau Twins didn’t share that philosophy, as they tried to make “Frosty the Snowman” their own.