Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published December 4th 2019
For some, this is Christmas reality
Not Safe For Work!! Not good for kids!! Viewer discretion advised!!
Ah, Christmas, that time of the year when crass commercialism trumps religious and spiritual concerns. Cynical? Maybe, but… meh.
Look, Christmas is a time of joy and cheer and getting together with families and sharing our lives and counting our blessings. At least, that's the way it should be. But it has become a way for retailers and manufacturers to sell goods that we might otherwise not purchase or even consider purchasing. Pervasive advertisements tell us that our love for some-one is commensurate with how much we spend on them.
Oh, and I have looked at what I consider great Christmas songs, but it's not a long list. They are great songs, but so many more… aren't. However, it was the last song on that list – 'Fairytale Of New York' by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl – that sparked this column.
It was pointed out to me when I sent a link of that column to a friend last week that it's not a Christmas song, but an Anti-Christmas song. It's not a song that celebrates the day, but despises it. I disagree; the two people may be having issues, but it's Christmas and they are using that to help them cope, and, deep down, they do love one another.
However, I think one of my very favourite Christmas songs most definitely is anti-Christmas. And this made me look at my rather extensive music collection… and I found a nice list of 10 anti-Christmas Christmas songs! And even though it's hilarious, the 'Most Offensive Christmas Song' from South Park isn't here because I think it would offend way too many people.
So, for all the Scrooges out there (or Grinches, or whatever your pop culture reference might be), here are 10 anti-Christmas songs, to take the edge off the season!
WARNING! NSFW CONTENT! REPEAT – NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!!
'A Christmas Carol' by Tom Lehrer (1959)
I am something of a fan of Tom Lehrer, even spending way too much money on a box set of his collected works. This is definitely one of his better songs, essentially a song that rants against the commercialism of the season. It is funny and it is quite scathing and cutting, and the fact is that now, sixty years later, it still rings just as true. Lyric sample: "It doesn't matter how sincere it is Nor how heart-felt the spirit
Sentiment will not endear it
What's important is the price…"
'Father Christmas' by The Kinks (1977)
I've never been sure what to make of this song. It has the sound of a cheery Christmas jingle, but the lyrics… wow! It's about the way Christmas has come to mean nothing but material gain through the tale of a group of kids mugging a Santa, and that's fine, but the way the story is couched is really quite depressing. Look, I like The Kinks, they had some great songs, and I do like this track, but it is plain scary.
Lyric sample: " Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
Give all the toys to the little rich boys…"
'Home And Broken Hearted' by Cold Chisel (1978)
Yes, a Cold Chisel song! A song that could probably be in a list all its own – songs about Christmas break-ups. This isn't the last one of those in this list. But in this case, the guy rushes to be home in time for Christmas only to find a 'Dear John' (or 'Dear Jimmy' in this case) letter, and so he spends Christmas drinking beer and feeling sorry for himself. I think what makes this song is the fact that it's Cold Chisel and, well, put quite simply, they are awesome.
Lyric sample: "Boxing Day break was wasted sitting home on my own
The beer we bought for Christmas ran dry this afternoon
And on the radio, it's New Year's Eve
What a low downtime of the year to pack your luggage and leave…"
'Hey, Santa Claus!' by Kevin "Bloody" Wilson (1985)
This is NOT good for kids or anyone of a sensitive disposition! This is a song told from the point of view of children rather displeased with the choice of gifts they received. And they swear. A lot. When this song came out, my particular group of friends (and I am sure, many others as well) would sing it way too loudly. And seeing him live a few years later (when I was, you know, an adult) and having the whole audience join in is something that has to be experienced to be believed.
Wilson also released 'Ho Ho F*ckin' Ho', the song of Santa's disgruntled elves which is almost as subversive. And just as funny.
Lyric sample: " If I'd a' wanted a pair of bloody thongs, I would have bloody asked
And this cowboy suit and ping pong set you can shove right up your arse…"
'Shouldn't Have Given Him A Gun For Christmas' by Wall Of Voodoo (1987)
The singer recalls the year his father received a gun for Christmas and what happened. Yeah. Subtle. For those who ask, "Who?" Wall Of Voodoo were a 2-hit wonder of a band that should have been much better known (their album Seven Days In Sammytown is a classic), but I think they were probably a little left of what was acceptable back then to gain the foothold into the pop culture zeitgeist. Still, what a great Christmas song!
Lyric Sample: " He put two slugs into the neighbour's door
And kicked upon a raging scene
The plastic baby Jesus he blew to smithereens…"
'Merry F*ckin' Christmas' by Denis Leary (1992)
This is NOT good for kids or anyone of a sensitive disposition! There is not a skerrick of celebration in the lyrics of this song, and yet it is one of the funniest songs abusing Christmas ever. It started life as a comedy special, became a really crude book and then a stupidly funny song. I think Leary is incredibly underrated as a performer; work like this only confirms that.
Lyric sample: " Crappy toys flying off the shelves
Midgets dressed up to look like elves
Spread good cheer or burn in hell…"
'The Night Santa Went Crazy' by 'Weird Al' Yankovic (1994)
In a world without The Pogues, this would be my favourite Christmas song ever. Taking the jolly old Santa Claus myth and merging it with a tale of bloody "going postal" mentality is so wonderful and funny. There is a slightly more disturbing version available on the Medium Rarities box set as well. This is just insane and funny and so gloriously marvellous.
Lyric sample: "From his beard to his boots he was covered in ammo
Like a big fat disgruntled Yuletide Rambo…"
'I Won't Be Home for Christmas' by Blink-182 (2001)
Yes, I do enjoy some Blink-182, and it is undeniable that on their early albums especially, there were often a few comedy songs. This is one of them, about a guy losing it at Christmas time, and then getting his in the police cells afterwards. It is crude and weird and, yes, it is funny and it has a sentiment I think way too many people can actually relate to. Baseball bats notwithstanding…
Lyric sample: " I'm growing tired of all this Christmas cheer
You people scare me
Please stay away from my home
If you don't wanna get beat down…"
'F*ck Christmas' by Eric Idle (2006)
This is NOT a good song for kids or anyone of a sensitive disposition! I am a huge fan of Monty Python, and Eric Idle is central to that. He was known as the songster of the group – he did write most of their songs – and it was he who put together the stage production Spamalot. Since Python has been in remission, Idle has not been, well, idle, and he has continued to produce works of his own (and, of course, books). And this song is one of those pieces. It basically abuses everything about Christmas. Everything. And yet I laughed so hard when I first heard this. What a superb anti-Christmas song!
Lyric sample: "White-bearded big fat bastards
Ringing bells where'er you go
And bloated men in shopping malls
All going ho-ho-ho…"
'I Hate You This Christmas' by Kate Nash (2013)
This is NOT good for kids or anyone of a sensitive disposition! A song about a girl finding her partner (former?) is sleeping with her best friend after an awful Christmas party. And she does not mince words. I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be a humorous song, but an angry one, but I found myself laughing the first time I heard it. However, the more I heard it, the more I realised this was actually a sad song about Christmas being ruined by some-one else. Ouch.
Lyric sample: " Well, I hope you feel alone this Christmas
You can say goodbye to this cause
You know I am never coming back…"
And so there you have it. It does seem that the anti-Christmas songs I like tend to involve abuse, swearing and humour. But, let's be serious, isn't that how a lot of us feel at Christmas? Or is that just me?
Still, if you want a break from the saccharine Christmas songs blasted out by the radio (if I hear Mariah Carey once more, I swear, I'll take a cricket bat and… sorry), then these ten songs could be right up your alley.