Let’s be honest, Christmas-themed albums are a stain on the music industry. You’re already forced to endure flocks of people every time you leave the house, all of whom are inexplicably angry, for the entirety of December. Baubles and reindeer clog up every conspicuous inch of shopping centres, supermarkets and city streets. Then, musicians decide to pile corny covers of Christmas carols on top of that, so every time you turn on the radio or enter a public building, you feel the overwhelming need to claw out your own cochleas.
With the glorious festive season just around the corner, let’s take a little wander down horrible Christmas album lane, shall we?
David Hasselhoff – The Night Before Christmas (2004)
David Hasselhoff’s music career is questionable in itself, to say the least, so nobody expected this album to actually be good. Opening with a spoken-word rendition of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’, reminiscent of a voiceover actor narrating a children’s film, there’s little hope for this album from the outset. While Santa is capable of navigating the entire bloody world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, the Hoff cannot for the life of him find a single damn note. A touch of auto-tune would not have gone astray.
CeeLo Green – CeeLo’s Magic Moment (2012)
If you think this album’s cover art is extra – an image featuring CeeLo Green being chauffeured in a red convertible pulled by blinged-out white horses – just wait until you hear the music. To be fair, CeeLo’s soulful voice does make this album almost bearable, but the guest appearances, including everyone from Christina Aguilera to THE MUPPETS, are simply horrific. ‘Merry Christmas, Baby’ featuring Rod Stewart and Trombone Shorty is actually kind of funky, though it is swiftly followed by a rendering of ‘Silent Night’ terrible enough to put you off music forever.
Hanson – Finally It’s Christmas (2017)
Apparently, one Christmas album just wasn’t enough for Hanson, so they decided to follow up 1997’s Snowed In with Finally It’s Christmas, 20 years later. After two decades, you have absolutely no excuse not to know better. With the music industry already flooded with mediocre cover after mediocre cover of the same Christmas songs, do Hanson really think we needed another holiday album from them? There are times when you almost want to like this album — it is Hanson after all, corny is their bread and butter – but come on guys. Why? Why did you think we needed TWO whole Christmas albums from you?
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again (2000)
Southern rock meets Christmas carols — need we say more? Christmas Time Again is so wrong you may find yourself wondering if it’s almost right, then Lynyrd Skynyrd’s rendition of ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ will swoop in and remind you why you never hear Christmas carols given a bit of Southern American zest. It is simply not good. Surely they are not proud of this album.
Justin Bieber – Under The Mistletoe (2011)
Okay, let’s preface this by saying absolutely nobody expected this album to be good, but omitting it from the list based on its inevitable shitty-ness would be letting Justin Bieber off too lightly. Take the worst parts of pop music – sappy lyrics, uninspired, formulaic melodies and way too many vocal acrobatics – add a holiday theme and you’ve got Under The Mistletoe. Is anyone actually buying this trash?
Afroman – A Colt 45 Christmas (2006)
Opening with the ever-charming ‘Deck My Balls’, an acapella number about smoking weed and receiving fellatio, A Colt 45 Christmas offers the level of originality and maturity you might expect from a 14-year-old boy writing naughty parodies to impress his mates. In fact, the whole album basically revolves around getting high and scoring blowjobs. Exhibit A: ‘Let Her Blow’, a number describing why all is not lost just “’cause she’s on her period”. Charming.
Cyndi Lauper – Merry Christmas…Have A Nice Life (1998)
Oh Cyndi, we expected so much more from you. Albums like this really make you wonder who talked this respectable musician into doing this and just how much money they made. The melodies on this album sound like the type of lame video game music you might hear on Diddy Kong Racing circa the Nintendo 64 era. Also, what the hell is a ‘Christmas Conga’? Is that a thing people do? And if it is, is it really worth writing an entire song about?
Bowling For Soup – Merry Flippin’ Christmas Vol. 1 and 2
A pop-punk band singing Christmas songs brings such confusion. Bowling For Soup sound angry and there is so much angst, yet they’re singing about how joyous and wonderful the time of year is. Other than the jarring contradiction between energy and theme, pretty much every song on Merry Flippin’ Christmas sounds exactly the same. Surely, at some point in the recording process, at least one band member must have thought to themselves, ‘Why on Earth am I doing this?’.
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