HAPPY CHRISTMAS YOUR ARSE
Updated: Dec 7, 2018
Part 2 of a very short festive series.....here are 10 other great Christmas Songs or ones that are a bit Christmass-y, that didn’t make Christmas Number 1 but are still Christmastic. Happy festive, thanking you.
10. Keeping the Dream Alive – Freiheit
For years I thought this was a Paul McCartney song. It sounds oddly like him in, and has a Macca sheen of fantastical, slightly cloying wonderment about it. Feels like is should be the soundtrack to a great 80’s Christmas film, but instead popped up out of nowhere in 1988 and quickly popped back into relative obscurity (Freiheit? Who?). Hard to find You Tube footage of this, so here's a bizarre video of it set to a load of Calvin Klein ads.
9. Last Christmas – Wham!
Christmas heartbreak, set to a chug-along rhythm, which became the biggest number 2 of all time (snigger). There’s something pleasantly ‘Casio keyboard’ about the backing track to this, the sound of someone casually polishing off a Christmas classic without trying too hard. Iconic video of lingering, longing looks over fallen tinsel round the tree, whilst Peps and Shirlz (knowing their place) set about making the dinner.
8. Christmas Wrapping – Kylie Minogue and Iggy Pop
For a start, this has to be hands down one of the oddest pairings in pop. Kylie does that coo-ing, flirty singing she’s adopted since about 2003 and Iggy is amazing as he growls threateningly throughout. The bizarreness of the pairing makes it work brilliantly on this call and response battle of wills , especially as Kylie naughtily wags her finger at him in a very non #metoo way (“Oh no you don’t!) and then claps her hands (“Here we go!”) for another round of the chorus. It’s slightly mad but oddly joyful. Couple of other observations about the song
a) Until the last verse, the lyrics are really depressing (subtext: I’ve had such a shit year I’m going to shut the door and not see anybody this Christmas)
b) It’s really, really long! Kylie recounts her year with painstaking detail, down to how she’s cooking her turkey dinner for one. Yes, this song doesn’t quite know when to leave the party
Best bit: When they meet at the supermarket and Kylie, mock surprised, observes “You mean you forgot cranberries too?”
Clip is of Kylie doing the entire thing (note excellent audience participation elements) ...check the Spotify link for full on Iggy version.
7. The Power of Love – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
1984 was the year of our Lord Frankie, where they tackled life’s big questions. SEX! (Relax), WAR! (Two Tribes) and now, RELIGION! (sort of). The Power of Love is a grandiose, slightly chilly epic that survived being covered in a plinky-plonky “I’m a little girl” way for a John Lewis ad a few back (as is tradition). Also, it was the number one before “Do They Know It’s Christmas” so (as with Last Christmas) gets an honorary look-in as a quasi Christmas Number 1.
6. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
The cynical sound of a cash register rings out at the start, but after that it’s a sleigh-ride into a singalong stomp (although someone needs to write a follow up detailing how actually having Christmas everyday would be sweet hell on earth.) I always put this and the Slade song together in my head and I think I prefer this as it’s generally more optimistic and cheery. The only thing tempering the joy is the sight of Roy Wood, who (in true 1970’s style) surely gave kids nightmares for Christmas’s to come.
5. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
Fast becoming the “Bohemian Rhapsody’ of the Christmas song world. It’s great of course, but slightly overplayed and slightly over lauded. The lyrics play out like some kind of depressing Eastender’s Christmas special from 1986 (only without the dishing out of divorce papers). In this TOTP clip, Shane MacGowan brazenly barely bothers with attempting to mime. In fact, it’s not absolutely clear he knows where he is. Kirsty is magnificent of course in all her double-tracked voice glory, leaning wearily on the piano. If ever a voice could roll its eyes whilst simultaneously stubbing out a cigarette and downing a gin, hers would be it. RIP
4. One More Sleep – Leona Lewis
So frickin’ excited! Only one more sleeps to my hollibobs, twitfam! Leona seems to be saying. I jest of course. This is easily the best Christmas song of the century so far. It has everything you need. Chiming bells, wholesome snow-filled video, parted lovers reuniting for the holidays, and a sly wink-to camera about shagging under the Christmas tree (“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do”). It deserves to be filed under classic status alongside Carey/MacColl/Holder etc… but won’t because Leona’s just that little bit too dull a popstar to be remembered for much apart from getting punched in the face at a book signing. Pop life is cruel.
3. It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
Andy Williams gives it some Rat-Pack schmooze and razzamataz in what appears to be a parallel universe of all the good bits of Christmas with all the shit taken out. I want all my ‘holiday season’s’ to be like this song…parties for hosting…marshmallows for toasting…hearts will be glowing…and lots of gay happy meetings. It’s basically a Norman Rockwell painting set to song.
2. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
When this came out in 1994, it felt like a long lost 1960’s classic that was discovered in a time capsule. To reinforce the point, it came with an accompanying sepia-tinged cinefilm type video straight from Mad Men-era middle America. I’m not a huge fan of Carey (and her oversinging) but the song gallops along at such a pace she has to play it fairly straight just to keep up. And has Christmas even begun if you’ve not belted along to this somewhere at 2 am?
1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
Full on amazing Spector-produced banger from Darlene Love. The first ten seconds tells you something amazing is about to happen, and then it does. Here’s Darlene still belting it out live on David Letterman. Classic