Christmas Singles 2017 - The rundown

My Son The Bum – Goodbye Psychotic Christmas 
My Son The Bum - Goodbye Psychotic Christmas

New Yorker My Son the Bum (aka Brian Kroll) oft pops up in my inbox and it’s generally a delight. Kroll’s festive offering, ‘Goodbye Psychotic Christmas’, isn’t anti-Christmas, per se, but more against the commercialism and inherent one-upmanship of gift giving. The lyric “I’ve been drowned by toys given to me by others to buy my love but I knew it was all out of guilt” set to a classically 50’s sounding rock’n’roll melody is just peachy and you can almost hear the New York snow piling up on the window outside. Which is nice. Oh, there’s some lovely Brian Setzer-esque guitar going on in there as well if that floats your boat.


Paul Mosley & The Red Meat Orchestra - Wintertide
Paul Mosley - Wintertide

Well, this is a bit of an epic affair. At over five minutes long and accompanied by a video that is part Blue Planet and part Live Aid, ‘Wintertide’ takes the ‘I saw three ships go sailing by’ carol and then turns it in to an expansive piece with instrumentation including everything from baritone sax and cello to a toy piano and ‘junk’ percussion (which frankly sounds painful from a male perspective). Needless to say, the component parts come together beautifully to create a cinematically gorgeous wintry tale that it’s hard not to get lost in. I’d encourage you to let the ‘Wintertide’ wash over you but that sounds hugely irresponsible.


Wartoad – Merry Xmas Everybody 
Wartoad - Merry Xmas Everybody

Nothing says ‘British Christmas’ more than a two minute punk version of Slade’s festive classic ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ with an anti-government video. Ironically, most of Wartoad are from the US but as a self-professed punk super group with a serious message about the seemingly unstoppable automisation of the world I think their appeal is global so I’m not going to get hung up on the details. Put this one up on your wide screen TV and see if you can get the kids to stop live streaming their lives on Instagram long enough to get the message.


Cherryade – Sleigh Me 
Cherryade - Sleigh Me

Londoners Cherryade have been pumping out cheeky singles all year but this is the cherry on the icing on the cake. ‘Sleigh Me’ is a full-frontal come-on to Santa to “fill my stocking tonight”, “mince my pie” and “lick my Christmas tree”. Essentially, this is the pissed up colleague at the Christmas office party walking around with mistletoe attached to their body in various strategic locations. Not one to sing with your Nan on Christmas Eve but if you can’t be a bit outrageous at Christmas then what’s the point? It’ll all be forgotten in January anyway, right?


Ghost Station – Christmas Telly 
Ghost Station - Christmas Telly

Ghost Station is actually Chelmsford chap Matt Phillips and his effort ‘Christmas Telly’ is a solid effort in the vein of the Beautiful South or Macca when he was trying to convince us all that Linda was just as good at singing as she is at making fake sausages. There’s brass, a bouncing melody, singalong lyrics and even some sleigh bells so if you gave this to Peter Kay you might just have a Christmas smash on your hands. It’s almost as if he was taking this seriously.


Ralph McTell, Annie Lennox & the Crisis Choir – Streets of London 
Ralph McTell & Co. - Streets of London

Now, a warning. Whether you know this song or not (and if you don’t, who are you and what planet did you come from), get a box of tissues handy before you watch this. Ralph McTell is rereleasing his finest musical moment in support of the fine work of Crisis and their continued support of the homeless. Annie Lennox has added her indisputable talents as well but it’s the power of the Crisis Choir and the simple black and white miming of honest faces to camera that gets the tears flowing. A beautiful song, a perfect video and a great charity that I wish with all my heart didn’t exist. Not remotely Christmassy but then neither is being homeless in December so get your hand in your pocket and get this song downloaded. Now.

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Jeff Michaels & Chris Teffner – It’s Been a Long Time, Christmas 
Jeff Michaels - It's Been a Long Time, Christmas

If you’re looking for a dyed in the wool, classic American Christmas song that feels both cold and warm then this might be the one for you. Bostonite Jeff Michaels has a tradition of bringing out Christmas songs apparently and this one, ‘It’s Been a Long Time, Christmas’, is perfectly pitched for 2017. There’s sadness in the song but also a recognition that, despite another year of mind-blowing disasters, cock-ups at the highest level and Armageddon being a tweet away, if we can stop for a minute and focus on the good things we might just survive. Definitely one to wrap around your weary shoulders at the end of a long year because 2018 might just be worse but we can’t give up now, change is just around the corner.


Matt LeGrand – What Christmas Means to Me 
Matt LeGrand - What Christmas Means to Me

There are many things in this world that I can put my hand on my heart and say I love. Three of them are Christmas, Stevie Wonder and women (I’m not being weird, I just think women are incredible in every sense). So, Matt LeGrand, you’ve gone to the top of the naughty list for ruining all three. Firstly, Christmas should not feature an ear-ringed tool with no tie fannying about at a grand piano. Secondly, I’m all up for a cover-version at Christmas but if you’re going to take on Stevie’s classic ‘What Christmas Means to Me’ then do go all Michael Buble-lite on our asses. Weak. Finally, if you must do a video with that piano in it then why, for the love of Santa, do you have to get a girl to writhe around inexplicably in her underwear? You couldn’t be bothered to shave, put on a tie or wear socks so why on earth did you expect her to prance around like that for you? A lump of coal and a UKIP fridge magnet for you, sir. Nothing more.


Devil Say Dance – Holy Trilogy of Christmas Songs

If Devil Say Dance was a 10 year old kid, he’d be the one showing off throughout the nativity but with just enough talent to make it enjoyable. You see, DSD has not recorded one Christmas song but three – like the wise man, see? ‘The Nativity Song (Part 1)’ is somewhere between the Divine Comedy and Badly Drawn Boy doing the nativity story on the musical equipment found at your average British junior school. ‘The Nativity Song (Part 2)’ is a lo-fi indie-rap track that sounds like a lost Bentley Rhythm Ace track that tries to capture the party spirit of a barn conversion on the night Jesus was born as though it was a warehouse party in East London in 1999. Finally, ‘Merry F**kin’ Christmas’ just goes for summing up the average British Christmas with disappointment where wonder should be, rain where snow should be and swearing where a children’s choir should be. Had Flight of the Conchords produced this it would be going viral by now but, as it is, you’ll probably be able to pick this up for 49p in B&M in January. And February for that matter.

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