'Silent Night', the enduring holiday classic, celebrates its 200th anniversary this December.
Composed by Franz Xaver Gruber with lyrics by Joseph Mohr, the holiday classic was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 in an Austrian church, and his since gone on to be recorded thousands of times and translated into around 140 languages. One version, performed by Bing Crosby, is the third best-selling single of all time.
With so many versions of the song floating around in our shared cultural ether, they can’t all be winners. Here, in honor of its bicentennial, we present five of the most objectionable covers of Silent Night ever performed. So, uh…enjoy?
The Klingon Translation
Given its proven longevity, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that we may still be singing ‘Silent Night’ all the way through to the 23rdcentury—but hopefully it won't sound like this.
While it might not be in the inclusive spirit of Star Trek to suggest that the harsh, guttural language is not well-suited to the melodic Christmas anthem, but let’s just say that we won’t be adding it to our Spotify playlist this year.
Still, we’d like to give props to the singer for her performance of the difficult-to-master language. We could have probably done without the accordion, though.
Afroman’s ‘Violent Night’
Oh goodie—everybody’s least favourite stoner icon decided to chime in with his take on ‘Silent Night’ in 2006 with what can loosely be described as a “parody” version, which co-opts the the song to deliver a ‘Because I Got High’-style sanctimonious take on…racial profiling, maybe?
It’s not really clear what Afroman’s goal was with this. As parody, it ain’t funny. As satire? It’s completely incoherent.
'Silent But Deadly Night'
We would be irresponsible journalists if we were to sit here and tell you that farts aren’t funny.
There are already too many hot-takes and divisive opinions swirling around the internet these days to throw that into the mix. But, we will say this—listen to 30 seconds of an all-farts version of 'Silent Night', and you’ll swear off flatulence humor for at least a month.
The Recorder Version
To his credit, this guy clearly knows how terrible he sounds, and the video is quite funny. Nevertheless, the clip dredges up far too many bad memories of being up onstage at our 5thgrade music recital, blowing hopelessly into our recorders in a vain attempt to play vague approximations of holiday favourites, for us to consider watching it a pleasant experience.
God, primary school was a nightmare, wasn’t it?
The Jingle Cats Cover
Yes, yes, it’s all very cute to see auto-tuned kittens meow their way through holiday classics, but it seems unlikely to us that the Jingle Cats novelty act was born of any sort of creative sensibility or inspiration.
‘Silent Night,’ as beautiful as it is, is undeniably a profitable consumer product these days, as interest in festive music spikes every December. So, couple that holiday nostalgia with people’s love of adorable kittens, and voila! You have a successful, cynical little example of Christmas pandering.