Miami Christmas music is a rich tapestry of tradition and trash.
Selecting the best Christmas music, no matter who you are, is like picking the least painful ear infection of your life.
Only sociopaths masquerading as normal humans willingly listen to holiday tunes anytime besides December 25. In fact, a 2011 Consumer Reports poll showed that 23 percent of Americans dread listening to Christmas songs during the holidays even though hearing carols is nearly inescapable for anyone brave enough to enter retail stores or turn on the radio in December.
The sadists at Best Buy begin their assault on our sanity in October. And, yes, this practice is actually bad for your health, according to Linda Blair (not that one), a clinical psychologist from the United Kingdom. In November, she told Sky News: "People working in the shops [have to tune out] Christmas music, because if they don't, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else... You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing."
But Miami often finds a way of turning the pedestrian into una pachanga, and Christmas music is no exception. Here are a few highlights to keep you semi-sane until the New Year.
"Jingle Bell Boogie" by KC & the Sunshine Band. A Sunshine Christmas is a collection of Christmas classics covered by the venerable disco group. It also contains three original compositions, and, holy hell, are they painful. "The After Christmas Song," "Let's Go Dancing With Santa," and the best/worst of the bunch, "Jingle Bell Boogie," are soulless, uninspired cash grabs that answer the question "Is there a God?" No, Margaret, there is not. A merciful God would not allow such horrors as famine, genocide, a Trump presidency, and the auditory abomination that is "Jingle Bell Boogie" to exist simultaneously.
"Christmas Through Your Eyes" by Gloria Estefan. From the very first Casio keyboard twinkles, this 1993 effort by the face of Miami Sound Machine is an exercise in maudlin songwriting. Estefan's voice is fine. It's all so airy, so cheesy, so made for Lifetime TV that, like a Taser to the neck, "Christmas Through Your Eyes" induces a visible cringe in the facial muscles.
"Ain't No Santa" by Trick Daddy. OK, this technically isn't a Christmas song. There certainly isn't any holiday cheer in lines such as "While y'all was dreaming of a white Christmas/I was out chillin' wit my niggas out spilling/Trying to make a living/And if I robbed for a million/I just hope God would forgive me after I spent it on his children." This is real as it gets! Trick Daddy doesn't do happy, sappy Christmas bullshit.
"It's Christmas" by, wait, effin' Trick Daddy? Never mind. Trick absolutely does do happy, sappy Christmas bullshit. "It's Christmas" is a one-off from the compilation album Hip-Hop R&B Christmas Gold, and, holy Baby Jesus, is this a fun song. It's not a funny one, though: Trick is completely sincere when he proclaims his love for Christmas. There's pure joy in his voice. Of course, we all know Trick luv da kids, so maybe this isn't surprising, especially because he has played Santa in neighborhoods around Miami in the past.
"What You Want for Christmas" by Quad City DJs, the 69 Boyz, and K-Nock. 69 Boyz and Quad City DJs hail from Jacksonville, but Miami is their adopted musical home. The two outfits made their money off Miami bass. Remove the jingle bells (which are as persistent as herpes in this song) and "What You Want for Christmas" becomes a classic booty track with some truly hilarious lyrics and hood Christmas lists that include items such as rent money, eggnog Alizé, and, of course, fresh gold chains.
"Frosty the Snowman" by DJ Laz. Speaking of Miami bass, this song is literally just that classic booty beat over the original "Frosty the Snowman" song. This shit is lazy — and couldn't be more Miami.
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"This Christmas" by Sean Kingston. Sean Kingston's "This Christmas" isn't terrible, and that's the best compliment anyone should give the average Christmas song. But its acceptable mediocrity stems mostly from borrowing from so many other Christmas songs. If you hate Christmas music, this track will do nothing to change your opinion.
"Noche de Paz" by Fifth Harmony. This track comes off a Christmas music sampler featuring artists such as Meghan Trainor, Sara Bareilles, and, um, Fiona Apple? Sure, she's a cheery sort. Anyway, two of the songs, "All I Want for Christmas" and "Noche de Paz," come courtesy of Miami's Fifth Harmony, and the last, a rendition of "Silent Night" in Spanish, is obviously the better option here in Miami. With a gentle piano accompaniment, this song will fit innocuously into the snooze-worthy holiday playlist of your choice.
"12 Ratchet Days of Christmas" by Otto Von Schirach. Full disclosure: New Times had a hand in the creation of "12 Ratchet Days of Christmas." In 2015, staffers worked with local musician Otto Von Schirach to give the Magic City its own Christmas anthem, and the final product is a glorious ode to all ratchet things in Miami — which is pretty much everything: pastelitos, jevas buenas, tetas nuevas, caja chinas, and, naturally, STDs.
"Mi Burrito Sabanero" by Choco. There isn't a single Miamian who hasn't heard the shrill child's voice sing about his trip with a donkey to see Jesus. At least that's what we think it's about. Most people are too busy singing along to the "tuki tuki tuki tuki" part to notice anything else. It's a Miami Christmas classic and a staple on Power 96, which begs the question: Why do people request this godforsaken song? Stop it. The station is probably contractually obligated by the Baby Jesus himself to play the damn thing from Thanksgiving through Three Kings' Day.