Croation pop singer Kićo makes a pretty glum Santa on the cover of this album, often cited as one of the worst Christmas album covers ever made. He doesn’t even convey the solemnity of a traditional Father Christmas. He’s just… there. Hungover, or wallowing in existential despair. His version of “Jingle Bells” featuring a banjo isn’t much better, though I have to say his voice is very manly. Zvoncici, everybody!
Christmas with Kico – Jingle Bells
Santa travels to another planet in a spacesuit tailored to his needs. But though the little boy gets a rocket, the little girl has to make do with a mundane doll. Not fair! Still, the song is cute, with clever lyrics.
I really don’t get Sufjan Stevens, beloved of hipsters. It’s petty of me, but he sounds like just another average white guy with a whiny voice. Plus he’s way too precious. I dislike this album cover too. It seems like a riff on mean-sounding holiday parody songs like “All I Want for Christmas is to Be Molested in the Shower.”
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever – Sufjan Stevens
Jeering at the Brady Bunch is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I’m going to do it anyway. Their voices are only average at best and their management was clearly capitilizing on their wholesome popularity with this release. Plus that damn dog isn’t even looking at the camera.
Oh Come All Ye Faithfull – The Brady Bunch
I never heard of these guys but they bring on the funk, as well as poising themselves for some sweet kung-fu moves.
Christmas Got Funky – Jimmy Jules and the Nuclear Soul System
This guy didn’t even bother to put on a beard! How lazy can a would-be Santa get? Plus, the poor little white poodle looks tragically butchered in the grooming department. He doesn’t have the fluffy topknot and shaggy ears of the other two and looks embarrassed about it. This really bothers me. Poodles should match, damn it!
I don’t know a lot about Senor Tonto except he’s the Italian equivalent of Sufjan Stevens. He also does a mean version of “Hurray for Santy Claus” a little known Christmas song from the awful failed film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Worth a listen if only for the annoyance factor. One of the instruments used on it was a Texas Instruments Speak & Spell.
Hurray for Santy Claus – Senor Tonto
Electronic music compilations, mostly on the Moog, began to be widely released in the early 1970s. I think this was the first Christmas one. The songs are peppy, but bloodless.
Switched On Santa – Angels We Have Heard on High
I love the graphic design of this album cover. So clean and powerful with its limited shapes and color palette, it’s almost like a homage produced by an artist today. But the music is, well, weird.
Pinky and Perky are two English puppets beloved by Britishers of a certain age and hosts of a children’s TV show. After the success of Ross Bagdasarian’s Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album, they, or rather the studio singers whose voices were sped up, entered the market, competing with other wannabe animal stars like The Grasshoppers, The Nutty Squirrels, The Busy Beavers, and Pepino the Italian Mouse. Fun fact: Ross Bagdasarian was the writer and sound engineer for the rockabilly hit “Witch Doctor” and later used the studio tricks for the voices of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore… who were named after three record label executives he knew. Meanwhile, Pinky and Perky ended up as Christmas ham.
Pinky and Perky – It’s Christmas Eve
Despite their stilted poses these guys rock. ’nuff said!