Tuesday, December 6, 2011
when bad christmas songs happen to good people
Every year we are blessed with a glut of new holiday music from our favorite singing sensations. After all, we need every artist who has ever been signed to a record label to share their version of “Jingle Bells” or “Let It Snow” with our waiting ears. This year Michael Bublé came out with a complete holiday CD, following up his previous EP that featured just a few tantalizing tunes that left his fans eager for more seasonal singing from the velvety-voiced crooner. The album, called Christmas, went on sale at the end of October, and for the most part it doesn’t disappoint. However, there is one track that goes terribly, terribly wrong.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the song “Santa Baby.” This syrupy-sweet, somewhat sensual song is usually sung in a Betty Boop style that flirts with and teases Ol’ St. Nick in a manner that turns the jolly old elf into a sort of sugar daddy. Well, our man Michael has taken this song and made it his own, changing the term of endearment throughout the song from” Baby” to “Buddy,” “Pally” and even “Papi.” Papi, by the way, is what Sofia Vergara should call Al Bundy on Modern Family – not what Michael Bublé should be crooning to Santa.
And that’s not even the worst part. At no point does Michael take the song in an ironic, comedic direction. Oh no. He keeps the flirty, teasing tone and sings the song as smoothly and earnestly as he sings other classics like “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” As the song plays on he promises Santa that he’ll “wait up for you, dude,” and implores Kris Kringle to both “fill his stocking” and “trim his tree.” And, I know what you’re thinking – but it’s not just my dirty mind that makes that creepy – a friend’s 13 year-old boy heard the song and said, “That’s not right.”
After my first listen, I felt like I needed to take a shower. And I had to wash all memory of that song out of my hair before I could enjoy a second listen to even the non-creepy songs on the CD. “Santa Buddy” left a frightened and confused taste in my mouth for the dulcet sounds of Mr. Bublé, and that was something I thought could never happen. I don’t know who is ultimately to blame for this travesty against Christmas music – whether it was Michael’s idea or his producers – but the only way this song could ever work would be if Neil Patrick Harris was singing it – with tongue firmly in cheek. That would make sense.