There are plenty of reasons to dread the holiday season—and even if the inescapability of dreary Christmas music doesn’t seem as serious as family troubles or seasonal affective disorder, it’s no less depressing.
The genre’s religiosity isn’t the main thing that’s so off-putting to a certain type of listener; neither is the miasma of nostalgia that clings to these tunes. In truth, it’s simply the fact that most of them are just bad songs—stiffly pious, musty with age. Every year, it seems like they become a little longer than you remember, a little slower, a little harder to endure. The one bright spot during this time of year? Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” an incredible pop song doomed by its subject matter to only be played for a couple months each year. (The song celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend.)