Christmas Songs: So Bad They’re Good

James Gallagher

Look, everybody knows that “Fairytale of New York” is the greatest Christmas song ever written. Heck, it’s one of the best ever songs ever written. For me, the holiday season is all about listening to Shane and Kirsty on a loop, with the occasional bit of Wham or Wizzard thrown in for a bit of variety.

However, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without those songs that are just so bad they’re good. You know the ones I mean; the cheesy ballads that everyone pretends they don’t know, the nauseating songs about love, warmth and joy, and the shameful tie-ins to movies and TV shows. Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without stuff like The Wombles or Geraldine Mcqueen’s “Once Upon a Christmas Song”, not least after a drink or ten, and no matter how much people protest, I know as well as you do that we all secretly love them.

So, without further ado, here are five Christmas classics that are the definition of “so bad they’re good”.

5. Cruise into Christmas – Jane McDonald

Before she started indulging in gossip, frivolity and right-wing hysteria on Loose Women, Jane McDonald starred on a reality show called The Cruise and became an overnight sensation, much to everyone’s future dismay. On the back of her appearance on the show, McDonald went on the release a Christmas medley which – to the shame of everyone who has ever lived – broke into the top 40, peaking at #10. I’m just not sure what’s worse about this one; the vocals, the choice of songs or the utterly terrifying video… yet for some reason, it almost works.

4. Kate Winslet – What If

It’s an unwritten rule that popular actors should try to avoid singing, just like popular singers should avoid acting (yes, I am looking at you Madonna), lest it become the thing for which they’re most remembered. In this respect, Winslet has been quite lucky; this miserable, turgid song, which she recorded to accompany her turn as the voice of Belle in 2001’s clunker Christmas Carol: The Movie has been largely forgotten, though it still turns up each Christmas like a terrible case of shingles. Vocally, it’s not actually too bad but lyrically it’s utterly rotten. Nevertheless, it’s brilliantly kitschy and is a great ballad to sing along to after a few sherries too many.

3. A Christmas Duel – The Hives & Cyndi Lauper

This isn’t actually a bad song; it’s almost as vitriolic as Fairytale of New York and the mismatch of vocals works far better than it has any right to. Its inclusion in this list is actually based on the fact that it’s just so damn weird. I mean, seriously; it involves Cyndi Lauper informing a guy that she “went down” on his Mother without a single hint of irony. It’s also full of anger, hatred and random swearing. Come to think of it, that might be why I love it so much…

2. Do They Know it’s Christmas? – Band Aid 2

What do you think of when I say “Band Aid 2”? If you think of Chris Martin, Dizzee Rascal’s “rap” and Live Aid 20 then think again because Band Aid 2 is so much stranger than that. Released in December 1989 – for reasons which still baffle me to this day – Band Aid 2 features such superstars as Bros, Jason Donovan, Lisa Stansfield and Sonia, and is like being trapped in a constant night terror in which Stock, Aitken and Waterman rule the entire World. Horrifying but oh-so-camp, this one is a serious contender for the title of most ridiculous cover ever. Then again, at least it’s better than the 2004 version…

1. If You Want a Happy Christmas – Alan Fletcher & the Pacific Belles

Alan Fletcher, a.k.a. Dr. Karl Kennedy, takes a break from Erinsborough to cheat on Susan (again…) with three women half his age, who then help him to record a Christmas song. This one has everything; crap lyrics, tacky decorations and an irritatingly-catchy rhythm, not to mention a hilarious cameo appearance from Stefan Dennis, a.k.a the man, the legend and my personal hero Paul Robinson (happy now Bachy?) So bad it’s good? Nah, this one’s just genuinely amazing…

About James Gallagher

James is a film addict, a bitter misanthrope and a graduate from the University of Sheffield. Raised in Birkenhead, he is like a (very) poor man's Paul O'Grady. He has lots of opinions – almost all of which are wrong – and can normally be found reading, writing and drinking whisky. @theugliestfraud