Holiday Horrors: “Funky, Funky, Xmas”

For other Holiday Horrors posts, click here.

The time to make fun of New Kids on the Block, like the time of New Kids on the Block themselves, has long since passed. Such hackery belongs with jokes whose punchlines end in “Where’s the Beef?”

However, no discussion of Holiday Horrors would be complete without a mention of their 1989 album Merry Merry Christmas. Slapped together in a cynical attempt to capitalize on both the group’s popularity and the Yuletide season, it is a cornucopia of fake holiday sentiment, misappropriated hip-hop, and bad drum machines.

Late 80s music production drives me completely up the wall, and Merry Merry Christmas is no exception. This was the dawning of the digital recording era–also known as The Era of No Low End. Every sound is compressed to within an inch of its life, and it’s all so trebly it makes Alvin and the Chipmunks sound like Barry White.

The album contains no redeeming features, but if I had to pick the worst track, I’d opt for “Funky, Funky, Xmas”. There is so much to hate about it. From the cookie cutter beat to the sub-kindergarten-level lyrics to the unnecessary second comma in the title, it is wall to wall suck. And despite the double “funky”s in the title, it is about as funky as Perry Como. Especially as performed on The Arsenio Hall Show, which you can view below, if you dare.

This version is actually worse than the studio cut, because the Kids valiantly attempt to sing live over the screams of their adoring fans as they bust some Roger Rabbits. Unfortunately, without the benefit of the latest digital compressors, they sound like guys trying to shout at you across a room as they run on treadmills.