A definitive ranking of religious Christmas songs

Okay, so, yes, I am biased because I am big into Jesus, and because I did choir stuff for a while, and because I’m a human living in the world, but just because I’m biased doesn’t mean I’m not correct.  That’s just how it is.

Also, there are of course Christmas songs that are not religious.  Some are great (“All I Want For Christmas Is You,” instrumental “Sleigh Ride,” John McClane’s screaming in Die Hard) and some are terrible (“(Simply Having) A Wonderful Christmastime,” “Last Christmas,” Cameron Diaz’s voice in “The Holiday”), but they aren’t here.  Again, just how it is. Ilu guyz I’m just lazy it’s cool

HERE WE GO

  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – 7/10
    • Very solid entry, makes you feel like you’re not singing a religious song because this is what like, a really proper pirate would use as a drinking song while sipping a cordial
    • Nice and zippy, no slowing down for any reason
    • Uses “comfort and joy” which is all we can hope for sometimes
    • Has that bonkers version with Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies which is whaaaaaat??? but also absolutely delightful??? that version gets 8/10 I like it good work
  • Away in a Manger – 3/10
    • Warbly soprano nonsense
    • Sorry not sorry this song is not good
    • Starts off on such a high note that’s also supposed to be quiet? Why?
      • Yes I sing alto how on earth did you know
    • “The little Lord Jesus” is such a weird line, like not baby or infant, just small, a 6-inch but fully grown Jesus, no crying he makes
    • This turns into a dirge so easily
    • Needs to go
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain – 6/10
    • This song sung by white people: 2/10
    • It’s pretty good but when you start getting “I clap on 1 and 3”-type white people involved this song turns to mush SO FAST
  • Angels We Have Heard on High – 7/10
    • It’s prettyyyyyyy I’m okay with it
      • The alto part is not bad
    • The Gloria is gorgeous if you’re ready for it and tbh absolutely hi-LAR-rious if you’re not
      • Like being in church and just hearing the congregation scattershot fade out, gasping, only to burst in IN EXCELSIS DEEEEEEOOOOO while looking slightly discolored in the face from lack of oxygen
        • I’m not nice
    • Also earned points for however you got taught how to pronounce that
      • Mine was “egg-shell cease”
  • Little Drummer Boy – 1/10
    • This is garbage come at me
    • Religious but non-biblical
      • Like somebody wrote fanfiction for the Bible and we were all like “sounds legit” and sing it to celebrate the birth of our Savior rum pa pum pum
      • Not canon
    • “The ox and lamb kept time”
      • Nope
      • No they did not
    • The best tweet I saw about this song said “hey, there’s a tired mother and a newborn, you know what they need? A drum solo.”
    • It’s repetitive and annoying and treacly trash and even Josh Groban and good harmony cannot save it ba rum pa pum
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel – 8/10
    • YOOOOOO SONG YOU WENT IN
    • Like this song is almost creepy with its minor key goodness, but you’re still so happy when you’re singing it??? How? What magic???
    • It *can* get dirge-like but you have to work to make it do so
    • There’s really not like, a set of measures?  Just hit these downbeats?  And we all do fine with it???  Song, you punk rock and I love it
  • Mary Did You Know? – 2/10
    • And this is what happens when you get a minor key and the song is bad, it just stays bad
    • She knew, homie
      • Read your Bible
      • Go sit in the shame corner with the drummer boy rum pa pum pum
    • Don’t mansplain the birth of Jesus to Mary
    • Also ugh, this song is just *bad,* like if you’re gonna be obnoxious to the Virgin Mother at least write a song that isn’t made of tears and stupid intervals
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – 10/10
    • I know you’re surprised I was too but I LOVE THIS SONG IT IS MY FAVE
    • “Peace on earth, and mercy mild/ God and sinners reconciled” hits me right in the Jesus parts of my heart, I can’t help it
    • Also is Mendelssohn whom I adore because am sap
    • The melody itself to this song is stunning, it starts off calm and then just builds, and when you hit the three C’s in a row and you think you can’t do more YOU CAN WE STILL GOIN’ FAM, IT’S LIT
    • This one also does not just go for one solid verse and then bail, leaving you holding the bag – every verse is good stuff
  • Joy to the World – 8/10
    • This is good stuff yo, just good stuff
    • loses a point for that weird third verse that is like “deathdeathdeath cursecursecurse” it’s so, so odd, and I pray for every church that forgets it exists and powers on through and then is like *slow motion* OOOOHHHH NNNNNOOO but it’s TOO LATE
      • “we will be singing verses 1, 2, and 4” learn it live it it saves lives
    • Alto part is cool beans and can stay, same with the men’s part
    • Just does what it says on the box, well done
  • Do You Hear What I Hear? – 5/10
    • Not my fave, but not objectionable, if that makes sense
    • It can get a little too military march-y, like baby Jesus is not leading us into an invasion, do less
    • When you get a nice lady voice singing this song with little trills, the sap part of my heart wakes up and is like “THAT’S THE STUFF I LIKE, START CRYING” and it’s a good cry but then I get mad because I’m so vulnerable
  • O Holy Night – 10/10
    • This song is straight-up Christina bait and if it were not for my overwhelming Hark! love this song would be first
    • “But it’s a show-offy song!” Yes, yes it is, now please find someone to show off
    • The high note?  Like, that note is made of the combined hopes of the world glued together with tears and Patronus-memories and NONE OF US ARE SAFE
      • If you haven’t go listen to Mariah’s version of it with her dog whistle voice and backing gospel choir NOW
    • Also, the English lyrics are from an abolitionist
      • “Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother/ and in His name all oppression shall cease” YES GOOD THIS IS MY JAM
  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – 4/10
    • meeeeehhhhh
    • Nothing super objectionable, it’s just not that good?
      • This is official facts sorry Midnight Clear fans you just gotta deal
    • Sometimes pretty difficult to sing or play, since the intervals jump around a lot, but the payoff simply isn’t there
      • like you work super hard for a lullaby, no baby is gonna be like “yessss I HEARD you with them accidentals WERK”
    • Also very frequently warbly soprano nonsense
  • Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming – 9/10
    • Good *clap* stuff *clap*
    • You want harmonies?  This song has all of them, borderline more than you could want
    • Props to this song for being a Christmas song that actually cares about dynamics a little
      • Like, yes, I live a ff life for all of Christmas so no shame, but I appreciate what you did here, Germans
    • I don’t hear it in church much so if I do hear it or I deliberately listen to it it’s like finding a Pikachu in Pokemon Go
      • Y’all still play that, right
        • That’s a no, isn’t it
          • Dang it
  • O Come All Ye Faithful –  7/10
    • Another solid entry
    • Loses a point for the alto line just being one note like 27 times
      • If you need us so bad, why you treat us so bad, huh?
    •  Also does a good job with mixing up the verses – 2 and 3 are solid, though it does fall apart a bit at “Liiiiight ooooof Liiiiiight”
    • Nice triumphant ending that let’s you wrap it up or start a new verse easily
    • Lets me pretend that I know Latin, which I don’t
  • What Child is This? – 7/10
    • Can v v v easily drop to like, 3/10 if the pace isn’t zippy
      • Like make this brisk or the birth of your Savior is secondary to getting the heck out of whatever room you’re in
    • It’s Greensleeves, yo, you can’t hate too hard
    • If you get good harmonies on this, it’s a party
      • like a classy one, a book club with a cheese plate, but still a party
  • Silent Night – 8/10
    • As opposed to Silento Night
      • Watch me whip, watch me bay-bay
        • I’m so sorry
    • Alto line here is A++++ and makes you think they care
    • Loses a point for trying to be quiet on those high notes and you kinda can’t and everyone is just squeaking and laughing
    • Forreals, tho, this song is lovely and actually pretty peaceful and hits the feelings good

Lemme know if I missed any of your faves OR missed the mark real bad

A Merry Christmas to all of you – may peace be with you in 2017.