Undoubtedly the most celebrated festivity of the year, Christmas is a rare time when seasonal music is adored and truly unavoidable. Whether your favourite is an indie hit, a cheesy classic or a traditional carol, our ears are always graced in shops, town squares, parties, clubs and every other conceivable public venue by Christmas anthems. Here at PearShaped, we have come together to create our very own festive favourites playlist. With a selection box of timeless tunes, alternative triumphs and everything in between, this is a list for the whole family. Take a look at three of our festive favourites below!
- The Pogues feat Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York (Taylor William-Hill)
Fairytale of New York, the Christmas anthem that is, frankly, too cool for Yule. What’s most amusing about this beloved holiday song is that it was, in fact, recorded in the middle of a warm summer’s July as a bet by the Pogues’ producer Elvis Costello that they couldn’t come up with a moon-struck, feel-good Christmas anthem. Following through with the bet, what they eventually delivered was this somewhat saturnine Christmas story carefully embellished with arguably one of the most all-encompassing vocal and instrumental melody lines of all time. The lyrics to this ballad guide through the story of a befitting Irish immigrant finding himself in a drunk tank in an attempt to sleep off the Christmas Eve binge. The vocal reigns alternate between Shane Macgowan’s chanty baritone character and Kirsty MacColl’s strained, albeit self-assured, vocal tone. It’s more elegant than Christmas itself.
- Wham! – Last Christmas (Evan Phillips)
Picture the scene: it’s 1984, far from the Orwellian hellscape envisioned by old Eric thirty-five years previous, and while watching a football match in late summer George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were celebrating a hat-trick of their very own. Namely, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, and Freedom. You’d think the Young Guns might feel content in taking a break after a year like that (seriously, just look at those songs again) but pop genius never sleeps and, so the story goes, George came up with the verse melody while at the match and dashed home early to write the lyrics. Fast forward thirty years, and I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m glad he missed the end of the game. Last Christmas is 80’s pop in all its luminous glory – sure it’s sad, it’s not even that Christmassy, but it wouldn’t be holiday season without it. Back of the net, boys.
- LCD Soundsystem – Christmas Will Break Your Heart (Ben Gladman)
Christmas Will Break Your Heart came out of nowhere. LCD Soundsystem hadn’t released a second of music since their break-up five years prior in 2010, and then, last year, came back with a Christmas record of all things. More than marking the return of one of the decade’s most important acts, the song is a tender and touching twist on the genre. Why should Christmas songs be so relentlessly happy? For some, the season is miserable and lonely; James Murphy attacks this with his trademark wit, and though there’s a hint of irony, lines like “Christmas will break your heart / Like the armies of the unrelenting dark / Once the peace talks fall apart” can hit even the most festively inclined where it hurts. Go on, include some sadness in your yearly soundtrack.