Before we begin, a solid content warning to all retail workers out there: The following article contains a metric tonne of Christmas Carols. Some I will yell at wantonly which will hopefully give you some sort of cathartic response. Some I will laud for the true holy bangers that they are. But no matter what, there are Christmas Carols in this article. Lots of them.
Like all musical genres, Christmas Carols has its bright spots and dull moments. Unlike most musical genres, Christmas Carols’ instances of songs about racing across the desert to gawk at a magical baby seems to be slightly higher than average.
Whether you’re watching Carols by Candlelight at home on the TV or in person at the local park or whatever, the humble Carol is a staple of Christmastime; a collection of pithy, ringy ditties some foppish turd wrote on a harpsichord five hundred years ago that must be sung en masse each year in order to summon Santa.
You all might have your favourites; the songs the really fire you up to tide some yule. But which are the bangers? Which are the stinkers? Which ones should never be played in public again? I forced a bot to listen to 1,000 hours of Christmas Carols and it wound up fucking up a tired old joke format. So I ranked a bunch of them instead based on nothing but personal preference. Merry Christmas.
19) GOOD KING WENCESLAS
Good King Wenceslas can eat my ass. If he were such a good king, he wouldn’t have had a deadshit name like Wenceslas.
18) WHAT CHILD IS THIS
If you’ve gone all the bloody way to Bethlehem to gawk at the mystical little shit and still don’t know what child it is then I’m afraid I simply cannot help you.
17) HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING
Firstly: putting that amount of faith in a newborn child is utterly absurd; Boss Baby ends in catastrophe and no doubt King Baby winds up the same. Secondly: “Herald Angels” sounds like some hellish web series NewsCorp would cook up in which a slobbering Andrew Bolt feeds three conservative harpies challenges in which they go out in public and screech about “PC gone mad.” Pass.
16) AWAY IN A MANGER
Again, the crux of the story being told here is that some apparently wizard-like progeny has been splooged out unto a box in a horse shed, the delusional parents have spent the night hooting and hollering about how this minutes-old child is everyone’s new God, and people are straight-up buying that shit wholesale. Unrealistic!
15) GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN
A song about a buncha blokes so hopelessly worn out from worrying about Satan all the damned day that they couldn’t even remember when the magical God baby was born. I know the news cycle works a little quicker nowadays but good grief, write a note next time ya schmucks.
14) O HOLY NIGHT
Bad: A pale imitation of the clearly superior Silent Night. Good: The only song on this list to have been graced with a Mariah Carey rendition.
13) ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
Much funnier if you sing it as Angels We Have Heard While High. Unless you happen to be high while singing it. In which case there are no angels talking to you. Stop trying to jump out the window to grab them. Just ah… just try and keep your cool there, hoss.
12) JOY TO THE WORLD
A song in which both the skies and the ground itself begin bellowing cacophonous demands for people of the human realm to prepare room for the arrival of a King they never asked to have. Yet again the bourgeois oppresses the proletariat. Classism! Classism, I tell you!
11) LITTLE DRUMMER BOY
No situation – modern, ancient, or otherwise – has ever willingly demanded the presence of a small child flailing haplessly away on a drum. It doesn’t matter how much of a prodigy they may be. That kid could’ve grown up to be Buddy Rich. It simply does not matter. On the list of Things Required In A Social Setting, “small child walloping a snare” is dead fucking last.
10) THE FIRST NOEL
There’s a good-ass reason why the second, third, and fourth Noels don’t get their own song. Even if it the song the first Noel gets is kind of a dreary affair. Would it have killed traditional carol composers to sprinkle in a maraca or two here and there? Spice it up a little, come on.
9) DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH
Absolutely perplexed – completely at sea – as to what action or movement could possibly constitute a “ding dong” and how one could do it merrily. Let alone from an elevated area or platform. Is it a dick? Are we singing about a really happy, elevated dick here? Are we all clambering up a mountain, wrapping tinsel around out schlongs and thrusting them into the good night?
8) O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL
Sounds like something a Byzantine domme would say to her harem of milky-eyed bitch boys after edging them for a week.
7) SILENT NIGHT
If you’re not unbelievably toey for a song about a dead silent, still night, then you do not live on a main arterial road with a tram stop outside the front door like I do. I’d dream of an actual silent night if I could ever get any sleep. It is my one and only fantasy.
6) DECK THE HALLS
Reading this from a completely modern perspective, “Don we now our gay apparel/Troll the ancient yuletide Carol” absolutely kicks ass. Putting on a bunch of sparkly rainbow shit and tweeting “kiss my balls” 1,000 times at some religious old woman yammering on about “the sanctity of Christmas”? Tell me what part of that doesn’t sound like the most kickass Friday night ever.
5) WE THREE KINGS
Three absolute lads. Three complete lords. Three utter chiefs. All galavanting around the burning desert together stocked to the gills with presents, having a laugh, having a time, getting around each other. You simply gotta respect that.
4) JINGLE BELLS
The version we all know is an undisputed classic, let’s make no mistake about it here. But the extended version also features a tale of a guy picking up a girl called Miss Fanny Bright, falling on his ass and getting laughed at by some jackass, and then deciding to get revenge by getting a faster sleigh, picking up multiple girls, and beating him in a race. Real alpha move, that. A powerful flex.
3) CAROL OF THE BELLS
Far too good to be an confined to just a Christmas song. This thing kicks ass from one December all the way around the calendar to the next. It only misses out on a higher ranking because this Pentatonix clip is by far-and-away the most-viewed version of the song on YouTube, meaning this obvious group of soul-sucking computer-generated deathbots has been viewed over 134 million times on this video alone. Harrowing stuff.
2) WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
No carol on earth is more efficient than this sleek, svelte motherfucker right here. It’s the perfect guide to a holiday interaction with that one annoying prick you only ever see because they insist on “catching up for Christmas.” Shake the hand. Say g’day. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Happy New Year. Out you get. Beautiful stuff.
1) HALLELUJAH CHORUS
I could not give two fifths of a stuff about any part of this song other than the end. The last night. That cymbal hit. The greatest use of cymbals this side of Mindsnare‘s Bulldozed. That cymbal is holy. It is omnipotent. That one note alone is better than any other carol in the enter Christmas oeuvre. The rest of the song blows, but that one punctuating stab elevates it above the rest.
These are my hills, and I’ll gladly be dying on them.