Christmas Songs is truly fascinating. Reading through a number of band interviews promoting this album, Bad Religion strive very hard to save face and maintain their punk credibility by describing it as “tongue in cheek,” and noting the irony. Vice magazine took note of the confusion:
The band isn’t really putting out a Christmas album. Well technically, they are. But they’re a bunch of anti-capitalistic atheists, so it’s just a joke! Ha! Ha! Laugh along, stupid!
But wait, is Bad Religion’s Christmas album really an ironic joke though? Because releasing an album is a lot of work. Almost too much work for a joke …
In the end, the joke seems to be on them. The lyrical meaning inherent in the traditional songs trumps the attempt at satire — and transforms it. For a moment, at least to this ear, it almost sounds like Bad Religion has “gotten religion.”