"The Twelve Days of Christmas," Weaponized
“The Twelve Songs of Christmas” is among the least-loved Christmas songs. It’s too long, too repetitive, and no one over the age of 10 celebrates holidays with a memory test. The exception to the rule comes from Harry Shearer and Judith Owen, who perform the song as the conclusion of their holiday concerts. They give the song life by breaking the audience into 12 sections and require each to perform its line, complete with an action that involves the group. The mayhem breaks the song’s tedium.
Toronto’s Joren Cull and AJ Ing exacerbate the nightmare instead of mitigating it. They recorded “The 179 Songs of Christmas,” emphasizing the song’s repetitive nature with minimal drum programming and a barely audible Casio keyboard blocking out the structure without a hint of commitment. Then, then extend the 12 days by 167, including 108 facts about Canada, and 83 fired staffers, and my favorite, 23 confusing death threats. Cull gave the song an equally slight animation, and it translates to a nine-hour song and video that do the same things the whole time.
At the AV Club, Reid McCarter wrote, “It’s a terrifying, excruciating work whose creation must have been even more soul-draining than listening to it,” and there we disagree. The punk in me appreciates the absurdity of the song—though I’ll never listen to it in its entirety—and I can easily imagine Ing taking pleasure in making such an impractical, confrontational statement.