According to this article, Christmas songs are a lost art. Of the top 25 most-performed holiday songs, the newest one is Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” from 1979 — a terrible song, at that. (Lifelong Beatlefan that I am, I love Macca — but this song is way below what he’s capable of. John Lennon totally whupped Paul in the ex-Beatle Christmas song category.) Certainly one might say that standard songwriting is not as mainstream as it used to be, but holiday tunes are still being composed, and it seems that a lot of more recent classics are ignored by this statistic. Sure, the older classics are still the most-played, which is appropriate for a holiday as steeped in tradition as Christmas. But that doesn’t mean the songs from the last two decades aren’t being played as well. We’ve all heard “Christmas Wrapping” enough times to know better.
I’ll suggest a couple more modern classics, as well: “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, and “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band-Aid. There are some more recent ones that I like, but I don’t think they get enough airplay to be “classics.” But then again, I’ve been avoiding the radio lately.
Now, the songs that aren’t classics, the ones that make you weep with pain when you hear them for the 100th time each Christmas season? People are writing about them, too.