Friday 16 December 2011

they're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace...

Earworms of the Week

Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Joseph Spence

A bit of a mixed bag this week, but to be honest, it's mostly coming down to Christmas songs.  As you might remember, I really like Christmas songs.  I always have.  I was a chorister when I was a kid, and although I am atheist, I still have a real passion for beautiful songs like "Adam Lay Ybounden".  I also really loved a Christmas CD that we had that contained Slade, Shakey and all the other timeless classics.  As I've got older, I have to confess that I've got more than a little bit bored of the same old songs that get wheeled out year after year after year.  LB always says that there is a list of about 100 songs that radio stations use to represent the 80s, and that ultimately -- although they may all be great records -- this is pretty limiting.  There are lots of really great Christmas songs that we never hear.  The problem is that, when one of these songs gets added to the mainstream list, as "Fairytale of New York" has been in the last few years, I have to admit that it quickly gets ruined for me.  You can't win, eh?  Still, I discovered this version of a famous old song played by a Bahamian blues legend, about 5 years ago now, and it just doesn't get boring.  He sounds like a drunken muppet who doesn't know the words and clings to the chorus like a lifebelt.  It's brilliant.  It's not Christmas in this house without a bit of Sandy Claw.

"Stop the Cavalry" - Jona Lewie

Jona Lewie must praise the day when he decided - in passing - to mention Christmas and add a seasonal bell or two.  An afterthought, for sure, but one that made sure he's been on every Christmas compilation for the last 20 years with a song about war and not about Christmas at all.  To be fair, it was only kept off the top of the charts in 1980 by two John Lennon songs re-released in the wake of Lennon's death, and I actually still really like this.  Catchy as hell, which is a pretty good start.  Buba-daba-dum-dum etc.

Waterloo” – ABBA

HATE Abba.  Still, I do like this song.  CURSE THEM.

Friday Night, Saturday Morning” – The Specials

This song was my Abba antidote all week.  I can't remember why it popped into my head, but it's a brilliant record, isn't it?  Beautifully downbeat, but insanely catchy at the same time.  I quite like the Nouvelle Vague cover of this, but it's still not a patch on the original.

Rosanna” - Toto

Not even the best Toto song (AFRICA!), but still pretty damn good.  MOR FTW!

Feliz Navidad” – El Vez

Back to Christmas then.  I've been helping a colleague of mine put together the annual Christmas quiz that she does for her family on Christmas Day.  Once I started thinking about it, ideas for rounds just kept popping into my head.  A picture round of famous people photoshopped behind santa beards! A round where you have to name as many famous people as you can called Noel! Identify "Happy Christmas" in a bunch of different languages!  That's where this one comes in, of course.  Feliz navidad prospero ano y felicidad!  Yeah!

"A Great Big Sled" - The Killers

Apparently they do a Christmas single every year.  I like this one, from 2006.  I find them a bit hit and miss as a band, but I do like this one.  Brandon sounds so impassioned, bless him.

Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes

Love love love that Phil Spector record, and this is the best thing on it.  Ding a ling a ling a ding dong ding.

"River" - Joni Mitchell

One of my colleagues has been asking me all week to name my favourite Christmas record, and I've been annoying the hell out of her by not naming something like Slade or Wizzard, and instead preferring to mention people like Belle & Sebastian or the Eels.  Actually, on reflection, I think that this is my favourite seasonal record.  It's not obvious, by any means, but I love it because it is a beautiful, moving song with that haunting echo of Jingle Bells.

Last earworms before Christmas (we're off to France on Friday morning),  so it figures that there are going to be some seasonal classics, eh?  Love these songs.  Bored of Wham! and the Pogues?  Look further afield,  I dare you.

Have a good weekend, y'all.


  1. I'm a Yorkie by adoptation but, a couple of years ago (at a wedding), I was amazed at how rough York was of an evening. Next day though blown away by the Minster.

  2. forget Newcastle...the mickelgate run in York of a friday or saturday night is astonishing. How those girls don't freeze, I will never know.