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Bummed Out ChristmasThe only thing really wrong with this wonderful concept album (suicides, after all, spike during the holiday season) is that it could have been even better. Rhino Records, our host for this unhappy hour, has a propensity for throwing a few newer, inferior tracks onto compilations like this (apparently trying to prove they're "edgy"). Sadly, all this does is dilute the high quality of what remains. On Bummed Out Christmas! (1989), though, even one of the new tracks is a winner ("Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit," featuring Dan Hicks), leaving us with ten uniformly depressing (though frequently comical) yuletide laments. Divorce, incarceration, murder, several cases of drunk driving, and "Viet Cong all around me" - the weather outside is, indeed, frightful.

Albums Albums

SongsSongs

  • Christmas Eve Can Kill You (Everly Brothers, 1972)
  • Christmas In Jail (The Youngsters, 1956)
  • Christmas In Viet Nam (Johnny & Jon, 1966)
  • Christmas Spirit?? (Wailers) star Top 100 Song [close]
    There's never been a more sour Christmas single than the Sonics/Wailers split 45, "Don't Believe In Christmas" b/w "Christmas Spirit??" The a-side featured the Sonics railing against the entire institution of Christmas, largely for personal reasons. The Wailers' flip side attacks the holiday for what it reveals about America - our commercialism, our shallowness, our lack of self-awareness. Told in a droll, Dylanesque twang, "Christmas Spirit??" is so broad, so bitter, so altogether over-the-top that it just may have been intended as parody. Or, it may have been an earnest attempt at relevance by an aging party band ("Tall Cool One," 1959). Either way, it works for me - bah humbug, babe. (Both sides of this infamous single are included on Etiquette's Merry Christmas From The Sonics, Wailers, Galaxies, a compilation of garage bands from the Pacific northwest, as well as Rhino's Bummed Out Christmas.)
  • Don't Believe In Christmas (Sonics) star Top 100 Song [close]
    Almost since the dawn of recorded Christmas music, a favorite topic of songwriters has been how much Christmas sucks for them. Never mind that it's the "most wonderful time of the year" - dude, I am bummed! Here, the Sonics' ferocious lead singer, Gerry Roslie, expresses his disbelief in the "Happy Holiday" and his displeasure with Santa Claus, declaiming "I didn't get nothin' last year!" Not only did the "fat boy" not show, but Roslie got shot down at the dance - "you jerk," sneers his date, "mistletoe doesn't work!" "Don't Believe In Christmas" was featured on Merry Christmas From The Sonics, Wailers, Galaxies, a compilation of garage bands from the Pacific northwest; the LP also includes another of my Top 100 picks, the Wailer's "Christmas Spirit??" Both songs are also on Rhino's Bummed Out Christmas.
  • Lonely Christmas Call (George Jones, 1962)
  • Santa Came Home Drunk (Clyde Lasley & The Cadillac Baby, 1960)
  • Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit (Christmas Jug Band, 1987)
  • Who Said There Ain't No Santa Claus (Ron Holden, 1960)
  • Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas? (Staple Singers, 1970)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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