What Is Once Heard Cannot Be Un-heard . . .

. . .  and that’s a damn shame.

For the last 15 years or so, I have considered “Santa’s Beard” by the Beach Boys to be the worst Christmas record of all time. I hate the way it modulates to a lower key, I hate the lyrics, and I hate the way Mike Love sings them.

The only good thing I can say is that it lasts only two minutes.

I have recently heard something worse: “Christmas Shoes for Mama” by Kenny Chesney somebody. (See comments.) Click below if you dare, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. (Just listen; you can ignore the video.)

The song apparently dates back to 2002, from a TV movie called The Christmas Shoes. The first time I heard it, I listened to this tale of a poverty-stricken young boy whose mother is dying with an unfolding sense of horror, the way I might react if I were watching a traffic accident happen in slow motion before me. But just when I thought it couldn’t get any more maudlin, that’s when they cued the children’s choir to sing the refrain, and you know how we feel about children’s choirs around here. And by the time we hear a single young boy sing the last turgid lines: “And I know these shoes would make her smile/And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight”, the only thing going through my mind was this: Somebody’s going to meet Jesus tonight if this song doesn’t get the fuck off of my radio right now.

(And next I thought: shoes? Wouldn’t a nice pair of earrings or a new dress be better? Is Jesus like one of those corporate executives who makes hiring decisions based on footwear?)

I’d like to go back to the life I had before I knew about “Christmas Shoes for Mama,” but I can’t. I’m going to have to live the rest of my life with knowledge I cannot forget.

I won’t say that it sucks, however—because it would be unfair to everything else that sucks.

Coming tomorrow: A Christmas radio tale, with music you can use to hose out your ears—and your soul.

14 thoughts on “What Is Once Heard Cannot Be Un-heard . . .

  1. ha haha aha ha haha aha aha ha hah ah aha ha hah aha ha aha haha ahah ahah aha ha hah ha ha hah ah ha ha hah ahah ahah aha hah aha haha hah ha

    tear jerkers & shmaltz for christmas — my favorites

  2. Yah Shure

    I’m convinced that the song’s author had been told to write a “soulful” Christmas song, but because the edict was not in writing, we got this soleful of horse hockey instead.

    All the same, Kenny still hasn’t dethroned Cindy Rella’s “Bring Me A Beatle For Christmas” from the Christmas coal pile in my book yet. Trust me, the shoes are a lot easier to mentally tune out.

  3. As I understand it, the song was originally recorded by Newsong for the movie, later by Bob Carlisle (who also recorded “Butterfly Kisses”), and most recently by Chesney (and I think Randy Owen from Alabama did indeed do it too), but it is the official position of this blog that we don’t give a shit which version we’ve got posted here. It’s not like its awfulness depends on who recorded it.

  4. Miles

    Being a huge Beach Boys fan, I have to say “Santa’s Beard” is a great and catchy tune for Christmas. Bah humbug to the naysayers! :) “I want to meet Santa Claus, the real real Santa—-” as I sing merrily on my way at the risk of being banned from the blog! :)

  5. drj

    you actually expect this poor boy to be able to afford earrings or a dress? this poor boy is trying to buy shoes for his sick mother and all you see is the negative things!

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