The Best, Worst And Most Questionable Christmas Albums Ever
Yes, David Hasselhoff has a Christmas album.
I love Christmas albums. Why? Because most of them are hilariously terrible.
Sure, there are plenty of festive albums that are well-produced and commercially successful. There’s no denying that. But most of them are also just… bad. Really, really, bad.
But awfulness comes in degrees, and some Christmas releases stink a whole lot less than others. So in the spirit of the season, we’ve taken a loving look back at the best and worst of a very questionable genre.
The Best And Worst Christmas Albums Ever
#1. Mariah Carey — Merry Christmas
Each year Mariah Carey earns around $666 thousand Australian dollars in royalties from the single ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, a song that was reportedly written in just 15 minutes. Since it was released in 1994 on the album Merry Christmas, it’s pulled in a total of over $78 million dollars for Mariah and her label, an amount that really puts that financial settlement from James Packer into perspective.
You’ll find Merry Christmas in the CD collections of most mums, playing at disjointed family gatherings and on the speakers of Westfield Shopping Centres everywhere. It’s this album that made Mariah Carey the unofficial Queen of Christmas — a title so grubby, even Mariah herself wants nothing to do with it.
#2. Sia — Everyday Is Christmas
Sia is cool. Christmas albums are not cool. What is going on here? While Australia’s leading pop mastermind has an unrivalled musical talent and the production on this album is admittedly slick as fuck, I still can’t help but feel a creeping disappointment with every listen.
The video for track ‘Santa’s Coming for Us’ features comedic angel Kirsten Bell and Henry Winkler, which only partly makes up for how sickly sweet is.
VERDICT: Good, but also bad.
#3. Twisted Sister — A Twisted Christmas
Dee Snider was probably balls deeps in a different kind of snow when he agreed to make a Christmas album with glam-rock wizards Twisted Sister. The album was called A Twisted Christmas, its bounty unleashed onto the world in 2006.
Funnily enough, Twisted Sister’s rock renditions of Christmas songs aren’t horrible! In fact, it’s probably some of the most digestible Christmas music on this list. You can tell the songs are about Christmas stuff, but they also sound exactly like the kind of edgy radio rock you hear blasting over the speakers down at your local TAB.
A Twisted Christmas imparts yet another gift — a baby with Dee Snider’s heavily painted face superimposed on it for their video, ‘Silver Belles.’ You’re welcome.
VERDICT: Bad, but good?
#4. David Hasselhoff — The Night Before Christmas
Lots of people will tell you that The Hoff’s Christmas album is one of the worst ever made. I disagree.
It’s not exactly good, but it’s not like The Hoff wrapped two craps and tried to sell them as earrings — The Night Before Christmas pulls no punches. Yes, the album is cheesy, predictable and will probably leave you needing to shower immediately after listening — but what else would you expect from David Hasselhoff?
Apparently The Hoff is very big in Germany, which probably explains why one song on the album was sung entirely in German.
VERDICT: Endearingly shit.
#5. Christmas On Death Row
If you want to get into the Christmas spirit without losing the street cred, have I the gift for you.
In 1996, hip-hop label Death Row Records got a few of their stablemates together to make Christmas On Death Row. Rather than regurgitate the same old songs as everybody else, Death Row whipped up fresh batch of new tracks and reinvented a sprinkling of oldies.
The first homerun on this release comes from Snoop Dogg, who lays down rhymes on ‘Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto.’ Other standout tracks include J-Flexx’s ‘Party 4 Da Homies’ and 6 Feet Deep’s ‘Frosty The Snowman.’
If you hate Christmas and Christmas music, this album might be just enough to get you through the holiday season.
#6. RuPaul — Ho Ho Ho
If someone had to capitalise on Santa’s “Ho Ho Ho” catchphrase, I’m glad it was RuPaul.
The Drag Race host decided this was a suitably cheeky name for an album back in 1997 and jazzed-up the lyrics to some of your Christmas favourites to suit. For instance: “All I want for Christmas is my cheek implants/And my chin implant/And let’s see, my butt should be risen”.
Unfortunately, the closest we were to widespread internet access back in 1997 was Gameboy’s Game Link Cable. Given RuPaul’s Christmas album is apparently not of enough significance to warrant hosting it online, the release has, for the most part, fallen into the mighty chasm of obscurity.
However, you can still enjoy the magic of a more recent Chrissy hit by RuPaul in the form of the video for 2015’s ‘Jingle Dem Bells’. It’s trashy. It’s bedazzled. It’s fabulous. And from RuPaul, we wouldn’t expect any less. You go, girl.
VERDICT: Shante, you stay.
#7. Michael Bublé — Christmas
It is said that at the stroke of midnight on November 30 each year, a stirring can be heard coming from the mountains — a wild Michael Bublé emerges from his cave to greet the Christmas season.
When Michael Bublé first appeared on the scene in the early ’00s, baby boomers collectively swooned: a young, handsome man was making ‘real music’ again! Bublé released the simply-titled Christmas back in 2011, no doubt to bleed the most money possible out of his demographic before they all died.
As much as I want to, I really can’t say a bad word about the guy — Michael Bublé’s velvety vocal chords are basically guaranteed to melt the cold, frozen hearts of even the most disgruntled Grinch.
#8. CeeLo Green — CeeLo’s Magic Moment
In 2012, CeeLo Green donned some red PVC and made CeeLo’s Magic Moment. The squeaky clean excitement didn’t last — by 2013, CeeLo Green aka Thomas DeCarlo Callaway had been slapped with a highly-publicised drug charge.
If you’ve ever wanted to see CeeLo Green delivering presents from a convertible Rolls Royce sleigh, accompanied only by unicorn-esque flying horses against a glittering back drop of stars — your prayers have been answered, you piece of shit. The album artwork alone probably makes CeeLo’s Magic Moment the worst offender on this list.
As for the music side of things? It’s all bad. In particular, the track ‘All I Need Is Love’, which is sung alongside The Muppets. Yes, the fucking Muppets. It’s a predictable smorgasbord of auto-tune, synthetic belles, CeeLo’s trademark warble and, of course, the piercing screams of Miss Piggy begging for mercy.
If you really need to watch the video, it’s below. But I don’t recommend it.
VERDICT: Really, really bad.
#9. Olivia Newton John and John Farnham — Friends For Christmas
When two national treasures team up for a seasonal album, you know it’s going to be legendary.
Olivia Newton John and John Farnham made Friends For Christmas in 2016 and it quickly went on to snap up the #1 spot on the ARIA Albums Chart. Given the only people who by CDs anymore are all over the age of 50, it’s not surprising that this album was a great success.
The only downside to this Christmas album is that Olivia and Farnsy didn’t feel the need to make any accompanying video clips — something that would have been nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
VERDICT: Almost perfection.
#10. Punk Goes Christmas
On the whole, the Punk Goes… franchise is pretty entertaining. 2013’s Punk Goes Christmas, however, was probably made because the world was running short on landfill.
I can’t tell you what the whole album sounds like, because I couldn’t make it all the way through. What I can tell you is that the first three songs are utter horseshit. You might like them if you’re a 16-year-old emo or worse, an adult who still listens to a lot of pop punk. New Found Glory’s track is titled ‘Nothing For Christmas’ which is convenient, because I’d rather get nothing than ever have to listen to this album again.
There is but one saving grace on this album — the ‘Home Alone Theme’ as sung by August Burns Red. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.
Bel Ryan is a writer, editor and occasional shit-stirrer based in Melbourne, Australia. You can see more of her work here.