Eric D. Snider

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My new pick for Worst Christmas Recording Ever

The other day I was driving to pick up my friend Lady Dawn so we could go to lunch when I heard my new choice for Worst Christmas Recording Ever. It was a version of “Silent Night,” sung by a vaguely country-ish female artist whose voice was just flat-out ugly. It wasn’t that she was off-key or anything; she simply had an unpleasant voice.

To make it worse, she added some words. Between “Silent night” and the next line (“holy night”), she added, “It was a …,” which made me laugh out loud, which I do not believe was the intended effect. It reminded me too much of a blues singer who will ad-lib “I tell you!” or “Lemme tell you ’bout!” or “I’m singin’!” between lines.

When I picked up Dawn, I described the song to her and did an impression of what the singer’s voice sounded like to me as reproduced here:

[Sample]

Dawn said, “Are you sure it wasn’t Stevie Nicks?” I said, “No, no, I’m pretty sure it was a country singer. She had backup singers that I assume were her sisters or something.”

When I got home, I checked the radio station’s website and discovered that IT WAS STEVIE NICKS!! My impersonation of her was so adept that Dawn recognized it instantly.

Here is the song. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing. Does her voice strike anyone else as grating and unlistenable? Does she sound to you, as she does to my mom, like a slowed-down chipmunk? Do the random fills (“Well, it was a!”) make anyone else laugh?

["Silent Night," by Stevie Nicks; vocals by fingernails on a chalkboard]

46 Responses to “My new pick for Worst Christmas Recording Ever”

  1. Karen Says:

    Wow. That was uncommonly bad. While I thought your impersonation sounded like a sheep, I thought the real thing sounded more like an unholy mixture of goat and sick goose.

  2. Savvy Veteran Says:

    After listening to your impersonation, and (I swear) not even reading below, I said to myself, it must be Stevie Nicks. This is due to the South Park episode where the boys take a goat back to Iraq, and the goat gets continually mistaken for Stevie Nicks. Spot on Eric. Spot on.

  3. Steve S Says:

    There was a South Park episode where the boys go to Afghanistan & people are always mistaking Stevie Nicks for a goat. . .

  4. Steve S Says:

    Hey Savvy–

    Great minds think alike, eh? But it was definitely Afghanistan. . .not Iraq. . .

  5. Andrew D Says:

    The biggest problem I have with the added “It was a” is that it screws up the tenses. The rest of the song is in present tense.

    Oh, and her voice is really bad. Sometimes I think it has to do with how the vocals are processed, but not here; her voice just isn’t appealing. The back-up vocals don’t really help, either.

    I can’t think of anything good about it, except that it spawned your entertaining impersonation.

  6. Super Deadly Ham Attack Says:

    I don’t know…. this is gonna have to be really putrid to top the christmas shoes, or god forbod feliz navidad (entire lyrics to the song: feliz navidad, I want to wish you a merry christmast, from the bottom of my heart. Repeat for half an hour)

  7. David Manning Says:

    It doesn’t really get awful until approximately where the backup singers come in–from there on out, it’s unholy (no pun). I mean, to the point where you can’t even laugh at it because it’s just that unbearable.

  8. Momma Snider Says:

    I’m a Stevie Nicks fan, but this song hurts my ears. I heard it last year and had forgotten about it, probably because of the ice picks I hammered into my ears with a ballpeen hammer.

    I think part of the problem is that she sounds like she’s singing too low. It reminds me of the ladies who sing in the church choir because they feel obligated, but they don’t know how to go into the singing voice, so they just say the words an octave lower. Still on key, but very unpleasant.

  9. Turkey Says:

    Yeah, I couldn’t finish that, although…not as bad as I was expecting, given my hatred for Stevie Nicks and her lack of talent. I agree with Momma S–she’s singing it way too low. On top of that, her vibrato is out of control, hence the bleeting sheep sound you reproduced there.

  10. Lin Says:

    Wow. I think a sheep/goat/sick goose could actually sing this song better than Stevie Nicks.

  11. Amp Says:

    Eric, thank you for going to the trouble of recording your impression. That had me laughing out loud. Hilarious.
    And yes, that song is horrible, but I think the great (or even good) Christmas recording is an exception to the rule. So as bad as Stevie sounds, I think she’s on par with the rest of the Christmas song crap that gets recorded.

  12. Eric Herman Says:

    Yeah, she can sound great on other things, but that vibrato can be a dangerous weapon. I gotta tell you, though, the song itself is almost impossible to completely destroy… it’s just so beautiful. I still enjoyed listening to that just to hear the song again.

    But the thing that disturbed me the most was that she didn’t enunciate the “s” sound at the end of the word “peace”, thus making it, well, not something anyone should want to sleep in, regardless of how heavenly it might be.

  13. Last Lemming Says:

    Knowing that it’s Stevie Nicks going in, it was not as bad as I expected. But what do you expected from the woman who singlehandedly ruined Fleetwood Mac.

  14. Richie Says:

    Eric, what was your old pick for worst Christmas recording ever?

  15. RedPenGirl Says:

    Knowing that it’s Stevie Nicks is enough for me; I’m not going to put myself through the misery of listening to it. Kudos to those of you who have put yourself through the ordeal.

    My music mantra this season is “Thank goodness for iTunes!” I don’t have to listen to irritatingly saccharine commercials nor do I have to hear Stevie Nicks or Mariah Carrey or Celine Dion or Wham! or Air Supply or the Ditzy Chix or any other number of “artists” attempt and almost invariably slaughter beloved Christmas tunes. No sir, it’s mostly Mel Torme for me!

    (B the way, my apologies to ardent fans of any of the artists listed. I am merely expressing my personal opinion and wish you and your ears a Merry Christmas, regardless of what you listen to—except maybe Rush Limbaugh. That’s really just asking too much, even at Christmas.)

  16. Joel Says:

    That impression–why would you go to the trouble of doing that? I don’t have headphones on my work computer, and suddenly the speakers emitted a sickly goat-man (faun?) sound for a single shocking second before I could pause it. My cube mate wondered aloud what that sound could have been, and I’m still laughing to myself like an idiot five minutes later. Curse your Stevie Nicks impression, Eric. I think I’m going to make that my ringtone for when my annoying little brother calls.

  17. Neil Says:

    Red (or anyone else) –

    Can you remember who it was that sang all those Christmas classics where it was some guy and a bunch of kids (yeah – like that could ever happen today)? I remember listening to it all the time on the cassette tape I had when I was a kid, but eventually the thing wore out and my folks tossed it.

    It wasn’t the class of Torme, but it was pretty good, and no changes for the sake of change (and no progress for the sake of progress).

  18. ken Says:

    That was bad but by far the worst christmas song ive heard was a medley by Beoncee (or her group destiny’s child i’m not sure).
    it sounded like she had never heard any of the songs before she started singing them and just made up the melodies as she sang while reading the words off the lyrics sheet.

  19. RedPenGirl Says:

    Neil,

    I can’t think of the album you’re referring to. (All I’m coming up with is John Denver and the Muppets, but I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for.) If you figure it out, let me know. I’m always game for new Christmas music. (If you have access to iTunes, search for some of the songs you remember, and you might find it. I’m amazed at what I’ve found there!)

  20. Fritz S. Says:

    Just pull out the best Christmas music there is (And that would be, of course, Frank Sinatra)…now just walk up to this person, hand them “A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra”…and tell them that He owns them…

  21. Momma Snider Says:

    There’s a great Disney Christmas album that isn’t available any more that was mostly a guy, Larry Groce, singing with kids. It’s still our family favorite, even with the skips and scratches.

  22. Carrie Says:

    This whole thing made me laugh out loud a lot.

    I wanted to blow up a Hallmark store that I was in today because it was playing Barry Manilow singing Jingle Bells. I can’t remember the last time such a wave of violent tendencies rolled within me. I was seriously fuming because it was so effing annoying. I’m getting pist thinking about it again right now. I hate it so much. SO! MUCH! UGH! I need to go for a walk now.

  23. Carrie Says:

    My current favorite Christmas song is “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” by the Darkness.

  24. Speeding Slowly Says:

    Oh wow that was bad. I confess I barely knew who Stevie Nicks was, now I see I was blessed.
    I listened to the recording first, THEN your impression, and I almost wet myself. How did you get Stevie Nicks there to record her voice for you?

    That ranks pretty high up in the bad Christmas recording section. There was another song I heard on the radio that was a version of ‘O Holy Night’ and the singer ( I don’t know who it was, some R&B artist) would add notes to EVERY line and it made me want to slam my car into a gas station and take a city block with me in the ensuing explosion. It was as bad as when someone slaughters- I mean sings the national anthem at a NFL or baseball game.

  25. Mephibosheth Says:

    Such a perfect impression! If you mixed music into the background, they would be indistinguishable!

  26. Jacob M Says:

    I’m dying of laughter at this moment. Can barely type. Spot on. I’m sending a link to this to my friends under the title, “This ain’t no Rhianna, Stevie”. Classic.

  27. Braden Says:

    Eric,

    You owe my wife a new pair of pants… or at least the laundry bill from cleaning the ones she just peed listening to your impression.

    I’ll be waiting for the check.

  28. Amp Says:

    Momma Snider, We had that one, too. I wonder if that’s the one Neil is thinking of. We also had one that was just called “Frosty the Snowman.” It was awesome.

  29. Michael Says:

    …………………I thought it was OK. :-)

  30. stupidramblngs Says:

    When did Mr. Tumnus go to Motown?

  31. RedPenGirl Says:

    Momma Snider, Neil et al.,

    I googled Larry Groce Christmas and found a site (waycoolmusic.blogspot.com) that has multiple Disney Christmas albums with MP3 files you can download (I don’t know if there’s a charge). If the comments are any indication, there are other fans of these albums who would love to see them released again and who were thrilled to find this site. Maybe this is what you’re looking for, Neil?

    Anyway, Merry Christmas!

  32. Heli Says:

    I’m afraid you’re all wrong. The worst Christmas song is O Holy Night (normally my favorite Christmas song) by Avril Lavigne.

    Fall on your knees, indeed.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAB2iy_XNzs

  33. Binky Says:

    The worse a Christmas song is, the more I love it.

  34. Savvy Veteran Says:

    Steve S, you are indeed right. I apologize to all of the internet for my negligence.

  35. Amp Says:

    Heli, That was four and a half minutes of torture. I’m not sure my ears will recover.

  36. Phil Cardenas Says:

    The song was pretty bad, but I’ve never been a real Stevie fan. Ironically, my favorite Fleetwood Mac song is “Sara”–sung by Ms. Nicks herself. Musically, it is probably their best.
    The sample is absolutely hysterical. I busted out laughing immediately. Seriously, Eric, you should sell that as a ringtone–you’d get some takers :)

  37. Queen of Everything Says:

    Yes, Heli? I may have to kill you now. Of course, once she let the vibrato loose a bit it sounded better because she does have a nice voice…when she lets it out of the bag, which is almost never so there you go.

    By the way, the Stevie Nicks version of Silent Night was a bit unholy, but at least she included all the lyrics to the song. I think the worst Christmas recording I have ever heard (and my work plays them a lot, as well as the radio at home for our lonely cockateil) is Jessica Simpson’s rendition of “Little Drummer Boy” which she sang a duet on with her *urp sister. While I held high hopes for it, I almost beat my monitor with my keyboard because Jessica sounds like she recorded it while in the john and she’s having a little trouble dropping a number 2. Sorry to Jessica Simpson fans out there, but my heavenly days that song is sacrilege.

    I also heard a doozie when shopping in Dollar Tree the other day but what the song was and who it was that sang it escapes me. I do know that I was wandering around the store, wondering why recording studios don’t seem to care that beloved Christmas songs are getting raped by talentless clods all the time. I mean, money lust really can only go so far….

  38. Queen of Everything Says:

    And to clarify: I heard the Jessica Simpson Pooper while trying to find some decent Christmas music on illustrious programs such as Limewire, and I have yet to hear that death-song on the radio.

  39. Stephen M (Ethesis) Says:

    Avril Lavigne sounded like a kid who couldn’t sing in that, while Stevie Nicks made my eight year old complain.

  40. Clumpy Says:

    Your clip crashed my browser. Twice.

  41. Kathleen Says:

    Eric, that Stevie Nicks impression was phenomenal. If I hadn’t known better, I would have mistaken it for Ms. Nicks herself.

    O Holy Night by Avril Lavigne—Ugh. I think I might have to kill myself now.

  42. Janette Rallison Says:

    Here’s a scary thought: What if Stevie Nicks and Rod Stewart had a child? It hurts just to think about.

  43. Stephen M (Ethesis) Says:

    http://www.spinner.com/2007/12/07/12-worst-christmas-songs-no-12/

    For a great collection that belongs with Ms. Nicks.

  44. pav Says:

    it sounds like she needs a bottle brush shoved down her throat to clear it! And the backing vocals make it even worse..pure cheese!

  45. Greg Says:

    Dang, someone beat me to the Avril Lavigne atrocity. My then fiance (now wife) played it for me and I made her turn it off before my ears seceded from my head in protest. Now I’m deathly afraid to hear this Stevie Nicks tune, since apparently it’s even worse.

  46. Sara R Says:

    The worst recording of “O Holy Night” ever (thanks to Times and Seasons for the link):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jlk8bTyFvYo

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