Christmas radio hits and misses

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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It’s nearly the end of November, so you know what that means.

We’re nearly halfway through the Christmas radio season that started the day after Halloween.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

I’m a bit torn when it comes to Christmas music on the radio. I’m old enough to remember when radio stations might play a Christmas song or two every once in a while in addition to regular programming.

Some stations would then switch over to all Christmas music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I love Christmas, and I always looked forward to hearing Christmas music on the radio, but we’ve now got at least a couple of local stations that have been playing nothing but Christmas music since the first few days of this month.

So I have found myself punching up a Christmas station, especially if I’m trying to complete a holiday-related task like putting up the tree or hanging Christmas lights.

My kids love the holiday music, too, so if we’re in the car, we tune in to a Christmas station.

The only problem is, it’s not even December yet, and I’m already groaning because I’ve heard so many terrible songs dozens of times this year.

Do people actually enjoy this music?

I decided to look up the top 10 most downloaded holiday songs to see if I agreed with the general public’s picks.

Here’s what Billboard.com lists as the top 10 with my commentary.

10. “Last Christmas” by Wham – I really don’t want to like this song because I don’t like songs that mention Christmas but aren’t really about Christmas, and this fits squarely in that category. But as a child of the ’80s, I love the ’80s pop sound. Sure it’s an earworm, but I won’t change the channel.

9. “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms – I’m a sucker for classic Christmas songs, which I consider pretty much everything written before the mid-’60s. This rockabilly tune is certainly a classic, and I’ll enjoy a little “Jingle Bell Rock,” in moderation, of course.

8. “Feliz Navidad” by Jos Feliciano – Just try to listen to this song and not smile. This Latin hit has earned its spot in the top 10.

7. “Where Are You Christmas?” by Faith Hill – I’m hitting scan on the car radio. Next.

6. “Christmas Canon” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra – This remake of Pachelbel’s Cannon in D Major at first seems like it would be more at home in a wedding than on Christmas radio, but then the youth choir starts singing and you realize this is an awesome Christmas song.

5. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee – Like “Jingle Bell Rock” this is another rockabilly classic that has become a Christmas staple. I enjoy this song in small doses, but usually by mid-December I’ve had about enough.

4. “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber – I don’t listen to the Biebs, so I had never actually even heard this song. I listened to it. Not terrible, but not my cup of eggnog.

3. “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra – This song hits on all cylinders for me. It features classical musical pieces, which I love, but it also flat-out rocks. Plus, it’s a staple for any holiday light show. One of my all-time favorites.

2. “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” by Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn and Katie Lopez – No, thank you for asking.

1. “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey – This song came out when I was in high school, and it’s been in regular Christmas radio rotation ever since. I’ve never been a big Mariah Carey fan, but I have to admit that it’s hard to change the channel when this lively song comes on the radio. I’m not sure if it deserves the No. 1 spot, but I won’t argue that it isn’t top 10 worthy.

Enjoy the second half of Christmas radio season everyone.

Brian Knox is the Messenger’s special projects manager.

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