Christmas: a time of wanton consumerism. A time of year where children scream for the latest flash-in-the-pan Yu-Gi-Oh collectors cards and the men of Britain unite in their world-weary expressions and wait for the sport on Boxing Day
A time where, for me at least, going into shops for more than five seconds becomes something of an ordeal.
Not purely because of the long queues, although that is a factor – but due to the Bloody Awful Music they insist on playing.
Now I’m sure that some of you will notice that two of my main passions are Art & Music. And, as a music fan, it never ceases to amaze me how good taste and lyrical dexterity are just thrown out of the window when it comes to writing songs about the Festive Season.
Not carols – by the way. Heaven forbid that religion should come into Christmas in any way, shape or form (irony intended). Carols, on the whole, are actually quite nice – I enjoy listening to these. What I’m talking about here is Songs.
So here’s a list, in no particular order of some Christmas Songs to Love or Loathe (If you can think of any more, or actively disagree with my selection, please let me know):
#6: “Can You Stop The Cavalry” by Jona Lewie
It’s hard to know where to start with this one: the monotone delivery, the annoying trumpet section, the O.T.T. apocalyptic lyrics. A personal low for me is the “dub a dub a dum dum” section. The only good thing about this song is you don’t hear it much these days (although ironically we’re one day into December and I have already heard it!)
#5: “Merry Christmas, Everyone” by Shakin’ Stevens
How a 50’s style rocker ever managed to have hits in the 1980s remains a mystery that only the general public can solve. This gains an entry partly for the repetitively and childishly simple lyrics, but mostly for being every bloody where all the bloody time from October onwards
#4: “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizard
It’s a general consensus amongst the public that Glam Rock should be purged from our memories forever and that anything with a children’s choir is immediately suspect as potentially awful. Roy Wood is responsible for many of the UKs worst musical atrocities – but try listening to this one back to back with “See My Baby Jive” by the same artist – they’re exactly the same tune
#3: “A Spaceman Came Travelling At Christmas” by Chris De Burgh
It’s not so much the song here that I object to, but the shameless commercialism. Everyone knew very clearly when Chris De Burgh released “A Spaceman Came Travelling” that it was really about the return of Jesus – but to re-release it at Christmas with three extra words “At Christmas Time” was just not on.
#2: “Merry Xmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon
Can someone please explain what the bloody hell this is actually in aid of? Repetitive, simplistic, sickly child choir, you name it this song is just as irritating as hell. How can this possibly be by the same person that wrote “In My Life” and “Imagine”? John, what were you thinking?
#1: “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney and Wings
DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED. If anyone has ever heard a worse song then I don’t want to know. This kind of fetid dingo’s kidneys makes you wonder how the Beatles ever became the band they were (though to be fair “The Frog Chorus” is far, far worse)
#2: “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade
Owner of the most ridiculous moniker in rock history singer Noddy Holder (I kid you not) has often said that this song is his retirement scheme – actually not a bad song as this kind of thing goes it and full of midlands humour. If only it wasn’t law to play it every single day I would probably appreciate it a lot more.
#1: “Let It Snow” (Various recordings)
I considered a couple of songs that I don’t mind too much – but was only able to think of two that I actively like and had to save the best until last (see below). I mostly know this song from its inclusion in the closing credits of “Die Hard” but its basic, swing-influenced style mark it out as something I would consider owning
#1: “Fairytale Of New York” by Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues
Fairytale Of New York tells the story of two people who have grown apart, looking back at the mess of their lives at Christmas. Darkly funny and bitter the lyrics are both funny and tragic at the same time. A typical refrain:
Shane Magowan: I could have been someone…
Kirsty: Well so could anyone/you took my dreams from me/when I first found you
Shane: I kept them with me babe/I put them with my own/can’t make it out alone/ I built my dreams around you.
And yet despite the bleak tone the song leaves you with a feeling of optimism and hope for the future with its uplifting chorus. Pure genius.
NB: sorry there's no link to each song - computer trying to drive me insane today