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Worst Christmas songs: Which makes you say ‘Bah humbug?’ 12/2/2022 Ben Flanagan, Mary Colurso, Lawrence Specker, Matt Wake,

Christmas music brings us so much joy.

Do people listen to it way too early in the year? Yeah, but who are we to rob them of any premature Yuletide glee?

Our “Best Christmas Song of All Time Bracket” was a celebration of all things holiday cheer via Darlene Love and Bing Crosby.

But let’s be real. There are certain earworms equivalent to bad fruitcake (is that redundant?) we must endure every season. We can control the music we hear more than we ever have, so audio avoidance makes December that much better.

But some dubious holiday songs — the worst Christmas songs according four writers — linger and challenge our will to be merry and bright. Out of the four listed below (at least one of which might anger you), which is the worst? Vote in our poll below the picks.

‘The Little Drummer Boy’

Call me a Scrooge. Label me a Grinch. I absolutely, positively hate this Christmas song, and always have. Even as a kid — OK, an opinionated kid — I rolled my eyes and shook my head whenever “The Little Drummer Boy” made an appearance on the radio, on TV shows, during caroling sessions or anywhere else.

The lyrics are saccharine; the melody’s a slog. And let’s not even talk about “pa rum pum pum pum.” I’ve heard many versions of this song, and all of them belong on the holiday junk heap, especially the 1977 duet (“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy”) by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. (Weirdest combo ever!)

My objections to the song have nothing to do with religion, by the way. There are plenty of lovely, reverent Christmas tunes about the birth of Jesus and the Nativity scene, including “The First Noel,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

“The Little Drummer Boy”? Bah, humbug. — Mary Colurso

Runner-up: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” for its dated and sexist vibe.

‘Wonderful Christmastime’, Paul McCartney

How could a Beatle write such an awful song? Really, the workmanlike engine behind the greatest band of all time, the musical genius who could spin a timeless and magical melody at the drop of a hat, when finally tasked with blessing the holiday songbook with an all-new creation, came up with ... this? Look, Paul McCartney on his absolute worst day (this song) would still pity the mere sight of me looking at a guitar, let alone playing one. And yet.

Released in 1979 following Wings’ final album “Back to the Egg,” it marked McCartney’s first solo since 1971. An elaborate production utilizing synthesizers, jingle bells and other studio toys, the song causes me to smack the buttons on my dashboard radio when I’m cruising listening to Magic 96.5-FM.

This time last year, I marveled at McCartney’s genius as he led The Beatles through turbulent sessions during Peter Jackson’s gift of a documentary “Get Back.” He hummed and strummed through euphonious remnants that materialized into classics like “Let It Be” and “I’ve Got a Feeling,” proving again only few in the world can equal such songwriting aptitude. But 10 years later, we got “Wonderful Christmastime.” Up was down, night was day, and the worst Christmas song was born. — Ben Flanagan

Runner-up: “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” by Bruce Springsteen. The Boss rules, but any overt attempt to rock out (or jazz up) Christmas just stinks.

‘(All I Want for Christmas Is) My Two Front Teeth’

Look, I react to the sound of fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard with mild clinical interest rather than visceral displeasure. Same for Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.” I usually can grit my teeth and get through “Little Drummer Boy,” though that Jessica/Ashlee Simpson version is fascinatingly heinous. I can hear “Grandma Got Run Over” about 50 times in a season before it starts to wear. “The Christmas Shoes” was never on my radar until Patton Oswalt put it there; any hatred on my part is purely vicarious.

But those oh-so-precious, perfectly crafted novelty tunes from the ‘50s? Please, no. I’d rather eat a whole fruitcake in one sitting than face this music. “Teeth,” a lisping gimmick tune popularized by Spike Jones in 1948, opened the hellgates for “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” (1953), “I’m Getting Nuttin for Christmas” (1955), “The Chipmunk Song” (1958) and “Dominick the Donkey” (1960). They’re perfect little jewels, okay? They’re cute, they’re catchy, they were weaponized with the professional pop craftsmanship of a bygone era. And the right number of times to hear any of them in a lifetime is exactly once. — Lawrence Specker

Runner up: “Little Drummer Boy.” Yeah, you invade the privacy of a mother who’s just given birth and offer her a free drum solo and let’s just see what happens. Also, has any other song led so many singers to reach for gravitas where it isn’t?

‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, Mariah Carey

If there’s a shopping mall in hell, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” plays there on nonstop loop. Mariah Carey’s holiday smash opens with a xylophone intro that haunts me like Freddy Krueger’s bladed glove scratching across sheet metal.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” boasts Carey’s diva-disintegrating pipes and sultry melisma. But the track’s devoid of the warmth and intimacy that makes a Christmas song truly great and classic.

Instead, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” sounds like a marketing plan dreamt up in a Columbia Records conference room. A bombastic jingle for Christmas consumerism. You can almost hear a Visa logo in the mix. The hook’s “all I want for Christmas is you,” but the vibe’s “all I want for Christmas is you to spend an entire paycheck.”

Originally released in 1994, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” reportedly earns Carey around $2.6 million in royalties each year. Carey cowrote the song with Walter Afanasieff, who as a producer also helped birth Celine Dion’s tympanic, membrane-torturing “My Heart Will Go On” from the “Titanic” soundtrack. — Matt Wake

Runner-up: “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by NSYNC.

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