A Very Different Scene Christmas Playlist
Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas lovely DS readers. Rather than do a normal playlist this week, we here at the DS tower thought we would take a moment to think about all our favourite festive tunes. Before we get into it though, have any of you lovely music lovers noticed a decline in the sheer awesomeness of the Christmas single?
The Christmas number one spot is probably the most coveted placement for an artist. So much so that in recent years more emphasis is put into holding the title and less import has been placed on creating a truly great seasonal song.
The last real attempt at a Christmas single came in 2004 when Bob Geldof decided to re-release Do They Know It’s Christmas 20 years after the original with contemporary artists. Ok, it was a good attempt and once again the proceeds were going to a great cause but it didn’t quite have the sparkle and pizzazz of the original.*
The Darkness gave it a tongue in cheek punt with Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) in 2003 but all this did was give us all a little giggle due to Justin Hawkins falsetto and the blatant double entendre.
Even Sir Cliff has stopped attempting to win the prize. It used to be that Christmas was the one time of year that Cliff would dust himself off having not released a thing in the previous twelve months (except maybe a dodgy calendar) and then let his devoted septuagenarian fans spend their pensions on pushing him to the number one spot. However, since he bagged the millennium number one with the cleverly titled Millennium Prayer he has been a bit laissez faire on the Christmas release front. That being said, what else can you release once you have ripped off Jesus?
Of late, we have had to put up with lame attempts from X-Factor winners who nab the desired award due to televisual scheduling rather than true odes to Christmas. This has become irritating to the point that national campaigns have been launched to try and stop this nonsense; the crusade to get Rage Against the Machine to number one and the Benton/Fenton the Dog being the most recent that spring to mind.
The X-Factor has made the institution of the Christmas single a joke which is truly a shame.
Well no more. The DS team love Christmas and we are here to provide you with the perfect soundtrack to listen to whilst you open your presents, eat your turduken and eventually pass out due to the meat sweats you have obtained from eating too many pigs in blankets.
Do They Know it’s Christmas? – Band Aid
We all know the legacy of this track; Bob Geldof wanted to release a charity single within a month and by gum he did it. The proceeds of the single went to help against famine in Africa. It was however just the start of things to come for the philanthropist. Live Aid and Live 8 followed which set a benchmark for musicians performing charity singles. The song itself is rife with inaccuracy however, who among us can listen to that song without singing the money line “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” like we are Bono, fists bunched and determination in our growl. This is a top notch Christmas tune.
The Gift of Christmas – Child Liners
In 1995, another rag tag bunch of musicians came together to raise music for charity; this time in aid of the Esther Rantzen charity Childline. The Gift Of Christmas did not reach the number one spot, settling at number nine. The motley crew of musicians, including Gemini, Deuce and MN8 (Remember them?) were stymied by eight other releases and the number one went to none other than Michael Jackson with the less than festive Earth Song.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Jackson 5
Carrying on with a Michael Jackson theme, the next song on our playlist is Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Not only is this a classic festive song but it also carries with it the very important message; basically if you are a bugger all year then you are getting sod all for Christmas.
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
This is the first in our Christmas songs that equally can be classed as a love song. The video has a pre-wailing Mariah Carey frolicking in the snow with reindeer. It is upbeat, happy and poptastic. Yet it never made it to the number one spot. Surely this is the quality of Christmas tune that we need back on the airwaves. No one can doubt the sentiment in this song – no presents are wanted, no snow, no stockings will be hung for gift; all that is wanted is the person you love. Brilliant, except on Christmas morning when you look under the tree for your gift before realising that your cheapskate boyfriend hasn’t bought you a present because his very existence should be enough.
It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) – Love Unlimited
The second number in the category of Christmas love song has to go to Love Unlimited’s It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring). This is a rather confusing track and we are not at all to sure what it actually means. Ok so we get that it is freezing outside but that the love is not frosty however, Britain in spring isn’t much warmer. In fact it is usually rather soggy. Furthermore, isn’t spring usually metaphorical for new beginnings? Is the relationship over then? It is almost oxymoronically delivered. Never mind, it is a great song from Barry White’s backing singers.
Last Christmas – Wham
In 1984, Wham held both number one and number two on the official charts during Christmas week. The number one was as part of the collaborative effort of Band Aid; their own release Last Christmas held the number two spot. Considered one of the greatest (and cheesiest) Christmas songs on the list, once it is dissected you can actually see a much more bitter and twisted track. It is more of a slap in the face to an ex than a love song. The underlying message – don’t piss off George Michael, especially at Christmas time.
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
Now Christmas is a time to be with loved ones, to share a bad joke that has fallen from a cracker and a time to exchange gifts. Elvis was one of the earliest artists to remind us that now everyone has someone for the holidays. So if you are feeling lonely and alone this Christmas then maybe fast forward this song…and erm…the next few tracks.
Please Come Home for Christmas – Jon Bon Jovi/The Eagles
If you are alone but you have someone who just happens to be out of reach then this is the track for you. It has been released in many variations but it has to be said that Jon Bon Jovi’s solo release of this track and the Eagles rendition of Please Come Home for Christmas are definitely the best.
Lonely This Christmas – Mud
For all of us singletons out there Mud have got it right. It will be lonely and cold without someone to hold this Christmas. Whilst the video does sport the band wearing some seriously dates suits and singer Les Gray attempting to sing like Elvis it is still considered a classic. If we can’t feel bitter at Christmas then we have to ask why the hell do we have the helpline numbers scrolling across the bottom of Corry each year?
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York is potentially the best Christmas song ever released. No arguments. It is the only song that can make a person feel festive and sad at the same time. The breakdown in the middle when MacColl sings to McGowan “you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot,” puts us in mind of our parents arguing on Christmas day after father has had one too many sherry’s.
Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea
The final song on our Christmas special playlist is Driving Home for Chrstimas, the track originally released by Chris Rea acts a social commentary of the festive period. Sadly, the greatness of the track will now remind us all of the cheap deals you can get at Iceland due to its recent cover by Stacey Solomanostrils. Although to be fair, we could argue that Stacey’s Iceland adverts are also topical observation about the current economic climate in the UK; about how we can still buy food cheap and how we can make things easier for our mothers. Or we could just say that she has ruined a classic. You decide.
So there you are lovely readers; our gift to you this Christmas is this lovely soundtrack. Sorry, but it isn’t wrapped. There are some songs missing from this playlist but we invite you to add to our list, share your opinions and your holiday stories in our comments box. Merry Christmas.
* For a song to be classed as a Christmas single it must be Christmas themed in its lyrical content and cannot be classed as a Christmas song purely on the basis that the artists are dressed in winter clothing whilst miming their song in a studio.