When the alt-right goes on their annual tirade about the supposed War on Christmas, they'll again be zeroing in on how shop clerks are greeting them, how their kids' teachers are signing off on their emails and what kind of non-denominational holiday cards are currently hurting their feelings. As always, they're taking their eye off the real battlefield, the one where Hollywood elites have been waging all-out open war on Christian values for decades and winning— Christmas music.
Once something that played innocuously in the background while the family unwrapped presents like dumpster rats eating their way through a discarded Wendy's bag, the Christmas album or Xmas 45 is actually the subliminal way in which celebrity liberals flaunt their Godlessness, through singing about sin, praising debauchery or just plain ruining some beloved Christmas carols.
Here are some pivotal ones in chronological order and descending order of brilliance for those of you who need to be gradually eased into Winter Warbleland:
Clarence Carter—"Back Door Santa" (1968)
Before Billy Bob Thornton character assassinated Father Christmas in the surprise classic holiday movie made for people who don't much care for Christmas, there was the original Bad Santa created by R&B singer Clarence Carter. Having made a career of illicit love and cheating songs like "Slip Away," "I Can't Leave Your Love Alone" and "Making Love (At the Dark End of the Street)," Carter wasn't about to switch gears for no Christmas album. "Back Door Santa" makes his runs about the break of day, bribes the kids with loose change so they can get lost and he can "make all the girls happy when the boys are out to play." No matter what your feelings are on the overemphasis of Claus over Christ every December, you can't help but feel bad how Carter emasculates the real Santa Claus with "He only comes but once a year."
John Denver—"Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" (1975)
John Denver had every right to make a Christmas album in 1975. He was on top of the charts, setting concert attendance records, starring in his own TV specials and pulling down Emmys and Grammys as fast as they could mold the brass. This cheery little morsel tucked away on Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas album sounds like it would've made a fine duet with The Muppets until you focus on Momma crying and depressing Daddy imagery like "You came home a quarter past eleven and fell down underneath our Christmas tree" straight outta Frank McCourt. And this from the writers of "Afternoon Delight!"
For Denver, it's almost like George Bailey getting a glimpse of his future in Pottersville. After his recording career took the downward slope a few years later and two Rocky Mountain marriages ended in divorce, Denver could be seen knocking back too many drinks in Aspen bars complaining about alimony and getting picked up for drunk driving. He died flying an experimental aircraft that crashed before he could switch fuel tanks. He himself was not tanked, but his pilot's license had been revoked because of the numerous times he was flying too close to the ground.
Various Artists—Star Wars—Christmas in the Stars (1980)
In the same way that Anthony Weiner can't stop sexting pictures of his yulelog, the Star Wars franchise seems to have a self-destructive bent whenever it comes to the holidays. Nearly all credibility and good will engendered by the first Star Wars movie was all but extinguished when George Lucas OK'd then later suppressed the turkey known as "The Star Wars Holiday Special." On that curio, they punished us with Bea Arthur belting out show tunes in the Chalmun's Cantina, the Jefferson Starship making corporate rock in a galaxy not far enough away and Art Carney reprising Ed Norton for the benefit of no one. Not having learned their lesson when "The Empire Strikes Back" became an even bigger hit, someone has the foolish notion to let C-3PO be Dave Seville to R2-D2' Alvin, trying to teach the gurgling little trashbot on wheels how to sing "Sleighride." This album is also notorious for containing the first professional recording of young Jon Bon Jovi singing "R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with a children's choruses and for hammering the final Santa's Workshop nail into RSO Records' coffin. Before the label went under, it made an initial run of 150,000 copies of this album. It's scarcity, however, does not make for desirability—just ask the Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center. Or anyone who as heard "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)" once all the way through.
Conway Twitty—A Twismas Story (1983)
A storybook album from country music legend Conway Twitty and Tweety Bird, rechristened Twitty Bird so they wouldn't have to send a Mel Blanc check. I defy anyone who values their nervous system to make it through a whole album of Twitty's baritone and Twitty Bird's grating squawks, not to mention the annoying "Happy the Christmas Clown" who tags along because he presumably has a red nose and thought he'd fit in. Just keep telling yourself, "It's Only Make Believe."
Kenny G—Miracles: The Holiday Album (1994)
Once, when Kenny G's software jazz reigned supreme in every shopping mall in America, I confess that I wished on a Christmas star someone would leave some heroin and a Charlie Parker album under his Christmas tree.
Roseanne Barr—Roseanne Barr Sings the Christmas Classics (year unknown)
Like "The Who Sing My Generation," there is probably a better operative verb to use here. Middle America has never forgiven Barr for butchering the National Anthem in 1990 and killing off John Goodman in the series finale of Roseanne, but she enacted her revenge by warbling "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and "The Twelve Days of Christmas (Extended Version)"! "And Many More!" It's a hard to find item now, so perhaps an embarrassed Barr has put her remaining millions to good use by buying up any remaining copies.
Lynyrd Skynyrd—Christmas Time Again (2000)
What? No "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Freebird"? Sleet Survivors?
"What's Your Name, Little Elf"? "Sweet Gnome Alabama"? This bites. Act now and get the recalled sleeve with Santa and his reindeers going down in flames.
William Hung—Hung for the Holidays (2004)
I had to Google Hung to remember who he was, a guy who failed the season three audition on American Idol and was championed for his bad singing voice for his 15 minutes which lasted a year or more. Mercifully, it ended here with this not so-well-Hung holiday EP. Subsequently, Hung gave his tonsils a rest in 2011 and became a technical crime analyst. But you won't need chalk to trace the real crime committed here.
David Hasselhoff—The Night Before Christmas (2004)
Wonder how many people lost some time on that crucial night before Xmas hiding the Hoff's Christmas album from Mom? Probably the only album of Christmas standards where you think it might've been improved significantly by the addition of a talking car.
Regis Philbin—The Regis Philbin Christmas Album (2006)
No one would begrudge Reeg a seasonal album, especially when his ex-co-host Kathy Lee had more than a few. But the fact that Reeg gave Donald Trump a cameo when the Donald was a private citizen who was only a danger to himself lends this album a sad, pre-9-11 attack feel to it.
Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas (2006)
"We're Not Gonna Take It" was always "O Come All Ye Faithful." Did we really need to drag Dee Snyder and company out of metal mothballs to actually prove it?
Keith Sweat, A Christmas of Love (2007)
"Sweat" and "Santa Claus' are two things you never want to hear in the same sentence, even if you are Mrs. Claus. The way this Christmas Casanova begs to "Be Your Santa Claus" and be the first gift you open tonight, it kind of feels like Sweat found his perfect brand of naughty and nice, a girl alone at Christmas with daddy issues and a thing for red suits. Partake only if you like your Christmas cookies with slow jam slathered all over them.
Elvis Presley & Guests—Christmas Duets (2008)
The King made a great rock n' roll Christmas album in 1957, controversial in its day, but a classic that has stood the test of time. Even his most ardent faithfuls would agree that Elvis should not be making Christmas records 31 years after he left the building for good. Raising the dead King to sing with people he doesn't even know is possibly the worst kind of identity theft there is. Here Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood and others prop up the Pelvis for the sonic equivalent of A Weekend at Bernie's or a genetically modified figgy pudding. I think it was the Elvis impersonator narrating the documentary This Is Elvis from beyond the grave who said it best: "If I only knew what was happening to me, I could've done something to stop it." Or maybe he said "fetch me another fried peanut butter and banana sandwich." One of those two. I forget.
RuPaul—Ho Ho Ho (2009)
The alt-right controversy over who uses what public bathrooms probably started when "RuPaul the Red-Nosed Drag Queen" waxed this album and petitioned Santa Claus for additional plastic surgery.
Scott Weiland—The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (2011)
It's hard reconciling the late drug-challenged lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver crooning Christmas standards like Jack Jones on shore leave from The Love Boat. And the way he never once makes eye-contact with the camera during this video makes it seem like something he's not entirely comfortable with, like something his lawyer made him do to impress the pole board.
Justin Bieber—Under the Mistletoe (2011)
Recorded for the true Belieber, not you. So let's just allow the Bieb speak for himself: "The wise men followed a star / The way I followed my heart... Imma be under the mistletoe / Shawty with you." Huh?