?In general, if it’s not by Irving Berlin, holiday music sucks elf nuts. The majority of attempts to write “modern” holiday songs are met with failure, which is why most Christmas albums are just re-hashings of standards. Sure, there are notable exceptions (I personally like the Vandals’ holiday offering), but in general when you buy a Christmas album, you know what you’re getting before you crack open iTunes.
Then there are some holiday albums that leave you wondering if the real reason for the season isn’t mental instability.
These 10 albums are all great WTF? holiday treasures, to be studied and hidden in the attic like a bag full of second-hand clothes. Keep in mind that these are just a sampling of what mind-bending stuff is out there, I’m sure I could have found more if I wanted to spend the rest of night combing through Amazon’s lowest rated Christmas CDs.
10) Christmas with Susie and Allie
Tammy Faye Bakker did this one on her own, doing the voices for both the alligator and the pig-faced child-thing. Dear God, those eyes. They will haunt me more than the faces of all the kids I killed in Vietnam. As you can imagine, the child-pig sounds like a crazy cat lady who wears too much make-up and walks around in her finest dress and hat while she yells at a fountain for being a “slacker.” The gator sounds like he just knocked off a bottle of cough syrup mixed with Thunderbird and is stumbling through a best man speech.
9) A Festive German Christmas by Heino
There are three things you need to know about Heino. One, he always wears sunglasses. Two, he’s the blondest human being alive. Three, his voice is so deep it sounds like he’s yelling into a cave. He’s also the most popular German entertainer ever, and this Christmas album? It’s his gift to you. Not the tree on the cover though, that fell off a truck and we just put it next to the house. Or, we put it in the house and we’re missing a wall. The perspective’s a little off here.
8) Twisted Christmas by Twisted Sister
?Metalheads love this album. Guess what? It’s a combination of awful and unlistenable. Dee Snider can barely sing on a good day, and here he sounds like he’s shouting Christmas lyrics over a bus crash. Heavy metal artists have covered Christmas songs for years, but the joke got way old way quick. Guys, I liked it better when you dressed like women and sang about how badass you were.
7) Jingle Bermuda Tree Frogs
?There are some families who will listen to any shit when it comes Christmas time. Seriously, Jingle Cats is worse than no music at all. But the Jingle Bermuda Tree Frogs take it to a new level of unlistenability. See, Bermuda tree frogs in nature are loud, chirping things that are like crickets mixed with cicadas, but beach-style. Every track has a nice carpet of Bermuda tree frogs chirping tunelessly while musician “Duane D” plays some weak standard on his keyboard over top of them. If Hell exists, and they have taste, there’s a special room for “Duane D” and his goddamn tree frogs.
6) Gay Happening Presents: Happy Christmas Party
?Topless Robot says that this album is the #1 way to let your parents know you won’t be bringing a girl home for the holidays this year, or any year for that matter. The music is fine, it’s up-tempo Christmas songs with a non-aggressive dance beat, but I can just imagine the questions that will arise when Dad wants to see the CD case for the great Christmas tunes you’re rocking at the family gift exchange.
5) Christmas in the Stars
?Everyone remembers this album fondly, especially since it was the debut of Jon Bon Jovi and it came out right when TR readers were impressionable kids. But really, wasn’t this just another example of George Lucas handing the Star Wars license to anyone with an idea and a contract that gave George royalties? Not only is this a blatant cash grab, but the only “original cast” member to take part was Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. A beeping R2-D2 does not count as “cast.”
4) Christmas Classical String Party 2
?Of all the people this album may have appealed to, I doubt that it was actually purchased by its intended audience: fans of classical chamber music. This is $10. It’s on Amazon. And we’re done talking about it.
3) Christmas Jews by 2 Live Jews
?I remember loving 2 Live Jews when I was in high school in the ’90s. I still have their first two albums on CD, but I skip over their songs when the come up on my iPod. This is their Christmas album which did about as well as a comedy album where old Jewish men re-do lyrics to Christmas songs can do. I’m not 100% sure what’s happening on the cover here, but this was 1998 and album covers made of paper cut-outs were probably really popular.
2) Rubber Band Christmas
?Yup, it’s a Christmas album played entirely with rubber bands. Someone thought this was a good idea and someone else thought it was a good idea to record it. I, personally, think it’s a good idea to hunt these people down and kill them with rabies. Most of the notes are out of tune and accompanied by a dull thudding of a bass rubber band. As one of the Amazon reviews says, “No, not every note is perfectly in pitch, but let’s see YOU succeed in playing these songs entirely on rubber bands!” Yeah, I’m not going to do that.
1) Olaf Henning Christmas Party
?Assuming that everyone wants to party on Christmas with a former insurance salesman with a receding hairline, Olaf invites you into his German home for some sparkles, some Santa watching, and some good old-fashioned avoiding the orthodontist. While at this party, Olaf will apparently try to unscrew his head, possibly to get to the precious, precious liquor he swallowed an hour ago. Later, when Olaf’s medic alert bracelet goes off, his guests will quickly exit out the back while Olaf chokes on some schnitzel. Christmas Party!