Christmas songs are a terrible idea. We've already got "Deck The Halls," "Silent Night," "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "The Twelve Days Of Christmas," "What Child Is This?" and "We Three Kings." Never mind "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer." Why do we need more Christmas songs? The same reason we need more plastic bags! How else are we going to waste our natural resources? We can't keep driving our Hummers and Winnebagos in a circle forever!
So in the spirit that yes, this, too, shall pass, we offer up five fine Christmas songs to obsess over as you open up those disappointing gifts your relatives insist on sending you. A Christmas ham again?
The Pretenders - "2000 Miles"
KT Tunstall covers this Pretenders tune because she's smart and determined to make you pay attention to her even if you won't buy her albums. (Must you download everything?) Because every radio DJ is looking for something new to light up the playlist come December and who doesn't like looking at pictures of KT Tunstall?
Spinal Tap - "Christmas With The Devil"
Someone wrote in and told me that this wasn't a "real" group. Uh huh. Well, this is a real record! I put the needle on it and it plays! So as far as I'm concerned it exists! And Christmas with the Devil sounds like more fun than spending it with my Aunt Rita, who once tried to kill me with that hard candy that old people always try to shoving down your gullet when you make the holiday visit in that regrettable Christmas sweater. Why do you think I insist on a "no pictures" policy when I visit the relatives?
Dr. Elmo - "Grandpa's Gonna Sue The Pants Off Santa"
This is the same guy who does that "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" song. But where that song was cheesy and contrived, this one is deep, heartfelt and soulful. And much more American, since we are a litigious nation if nothing else. I'm not sure why Grandpa needs to sue Santa, but if it has anything to do with ruining the chimney liner, count me in for a class-action suit against the old bag.
Tom Waits - "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis"
We should all get Christmas cards from the ones we love. I sure get enough of them from people I don't even know - though I'm sure the fine staff at Brewer-Eastley Insurance really do think of me at holiday time, not to mention the half-dozen realtors who think they can scare me out of my current neighborhood. Personally, I like the cards that come with the "Year-End Wrap-Up" letters that tell me what everyone in the family has been up to for the past twelve months. An awful lot of kids graduate college in my family. They never get jobs or move away. But they sure are smart.
Band Aid - "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
I've never understood why anyone would make a charity record that asks such a question. Do they know it's Christmas? Well, if they're as hungry as you say these starving children are, I don't think they care what holiday it is until you start sending the turkey their way! And don't think you can cheap out and send a fruitcake. Even hungry people don't want to eat fruitcake. No one likes fruitcake. How can you? It's fruitcake.