A(not so)HiddenThing

Smoke 'em while you got 'em.
DECEMBER 6, 2008 9:37PM

Little Dumber Boy

Rate: 8 Flag

I admit it, I like Christmas music. I secretly start listening to it about mid-October. When I'm alone, I'll even put on Anne Murray.

But for the Christmas music connoisseur, there are certain unavoidable annoyances. Some are truly irritating: "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," or "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" (shudder). Some are merely over-played: "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," or "The Christmas Song" (informally known as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.")

And, of course, there is the fate-cursed category of the irritating and  overplayed. The list is, sadly, long.

Rudolph, I'm lookin' at you, Buddy. 

This year, the member of that unhappy family that is the sharpest stone in my shoe? Ah, "The Little Drummer Boy."

On its own merits, this song has two problems: it's musically repetitive (OK, not as bad as "100 Bottles of Wassail on the Wall" "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but bad enough) and it's ideologically ridiculous. Who plays a drum for an infant?

It has the further misfortune of being well nigh unto irresistible for most musicians--rockers, crooners, yodelers: they all fall under its spell.

In my mind, I can clearly see each artist, closing his or her eyes in deep contemplation of the song's message. "Yeah," they all say, "my music is my gift to the world, man!"

(Which I suppose is fair enough. But it would be nice if that sentiment could come with a little less rumpumpumpum.)


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When I was a kid, "We Three Kings of Orient Are" was a biggie -- bring on the loot, to a marching tune. And I loved the myrrh section: "sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying; sealed in the stone cold tomb." That was a Christmas carol. Those were the days. Now it's all conceptual and calming.

Rated for laughing egg nog out nose.
I agree, I always liked that section of "We Three Kings." As a kid, though, I never understood how it fit with "Prayer and praising, almond raising." Ah, sweet life on an Almond Ranch...
but since you say you love christmas music you have to be fair & share more of the ones that don't make you shudder....anne murray and....

(good point about the rumpumpumpum...i can just see mary shaking her fist at whoever thought of playing that one at the manger..)

and as a side note...today i just discovered a jesus bobblehead sitting in front of the virgin mary statue at the mission dolores. i like a modern take on the nativity scene...there were also some finger puppets...
I have spent the evening at a family xmas listening to 'Silent Night'. I hate this season. On top of that, I have been open about being a tree and rock worshiper. Now I am going to hell. And being prayed for.
My favorites are: "Silent Night by The Temptations" and "O Holy Night by Mahalia Jackson".
I'm with you. I like real Christmas carols. Almost anything that was composed in the medieval days will do it for me. Rudolph and Frosty can piss off.

And to quote Dave Barry, who I believe put it best: "If someone came around whacking a drum while I was taking care of an infant, that person would soon find himself in the emergency room having his drumsticks surgically removed from his rum pa-pum-pum, if you know what I mean."
Delores, I tend to like old carols sung in a traditional manner (I agree on that, littleboxofspoons--great name, by the way). But I also like contemporary favorites, especially if they are sung in an unusual interpretation...and I'm partial to "international" holiday music and blue grass...pretty eclectic, really. I like to hear stuff I've never heard before and I think it's kind of magical to hear stuff that I know people have been hearing for five hundred years or more.

suzyishere...rock and tree worshipers are welcome at my Christmas/Yule/Solstice celebration!
well, I actually LOVE Bowie & Bing's version of Little Drummer Boy...but I take your point. here's my list.

ok...songs that totally grate -
"Santa Baby" - Brenda Lee, I think, but anyone's is annoying
"I Saw Three Ships" - Sting
"Because It's Christmas"
"I Wonder as I Wonder"

Totally overplayed (may have been good once, but...):
"Christmas Shoes"
"Another Auld Lang Syne" - Dan Fogelberg
"Do they Know it's Christmas Time at all?"
"I only Want You for Christmas"

Old Favorites
Nat's "The Christmas Song"
Elvis' "Blue Christmas"
Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"I'll be Home for Christmas"

New Favorites
Jewel - "Oh Holy Night"
Toby Keith - "Frosty", "Go Tell it on the Mountain"
Nana Mouskouri - "O Tannenbaum"

I weigh in on the side of those who love Christmas music -- although I agree with most of the exceptions you listed above.

Try this link for a cute rendition of "White Christmas" sung by The Drifters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooc5eJc5SHA
My grandchildren love your your tube link. Thank you,
freethinker44...sometimes singing reindeer make it all better!
The song doesn't matter -- I tune out any Christmas music sung by Italian crooners of my mother's generation. Don't know why -- it's not like my mother was especially fond of any of them or I heard them overplayed as a child -- but, Frank Sinatra (especially) and Christmas really, really don't go together for me.

It would, of course, be unAmerican to complain about Bing Crosby (Irish -- and my mom's favorite crooner) and Christmas tunes.

(Of the Italian crooners the only one my mom was really fond of was Tony Bennett. But I think that had as much to do with the fact that he (obviously) never had "anything done to" his nose, as it did his musical stylings.)
"100 Bottles of Wassail on the Wall" :D
but, but...it's the Little Drummer Boy *sniff*
To be honest, I did have a soft spot for that song in years past. I only began to get irritated with it recently, when I noticed how MANY albums it's on--and it's an easy one to do badly.
well, i'll be quoting you on the infant line for the next 50 years. loved it!
An offbeat favorite:

Emmylou Harris, "Light of the Stable", 1979, background vocals by Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt. Makes me all shivery...

I actually love "I Wonder as I Wander." It was composed in 1933 (John Jacob Niles) from a fragment of a much older fok tune.

I'm pretty drummed out, though!