Dream Academy – Life in a Northern town (1986)
Written as an elegy to the tragic and influential late folk musician Nick Drake (1948-1974), Life in a Northern Town was a UK and US hit back in 1986 for UK pop trio Dream Academy and one later sampled to much success and aural irritation by club DJ trio Dario G for their 1997 European smash ‘Sunchyme’.
MEW- she came home for christmas (2002)
danish progrockpopcombo with a typically dark, sad and lovely scando tale detailing some past traumatic experience we dare only to speak of in balladsongform. when the singers voice soars to heavenly heights just before the climactic chorus, the winterfrost in your souls and perhaps on your homesteads will melt into christmas tears.
Big Star – Jesus Christ (1974?)
Like much of Big Star’s Third/Sisterlovers ‘final’ album, the track begins off kilter then gains a steady foothold but remains curiously forlorn, empty and bedraggled like springsteen and the eband on prozac. what should be a spiritual celebration sounds more like a surrender, a defeat at the crossroads of ambitious will, talent and apathy that is both beautiful and sad. jesus gets a lookin with a semi-rousing chorus but God has left the building. Merry f***in Christmas music lovers! Now go read your Beano annual! (chortle)
8.Tom Waits – Silent Night (1989)
well, if you want to scare the kids at chrimbo, forget yer arsenic laced puds or gremlins and bad santa dvd combo pack and press their ears up against the possessed hobo yuletidings of the bard of the bar-room, patron of lost angels and weird eggs, mr waits. so scary and yet so tender and bright…this is his first ever top 10 hit (Rod the Sod’s 1990 fairlight keyboardin ‘downtown train’ cover notwithstandin)
Erasure – She Won’t Be Home (1988)
number 9 sees the steady electropop veterans conjuring up one of their effortlessly upbeat/downbeat/how do the heck do they that? pop concoctions tappin in to the seasonal yearning that’s all about the place at this time of year and how we all hope to get home, be loved and/maybe not tell the special ones how yee do feel like so intensely because tinsel and santa.
10.XTC – Thanks for Christmas (1983)
…and straight in at number 10 is an entry by Swindon’s finest export aside from double glazing from way back in the daft early 80’s pop landscape when it both the cool and uncool seemed eager to whip up a festive musical fever. nowadays, coming up with a new xmas tune is akin to askin someone to work down the coal mines; they have a hazy recollection of what it involves but can’t be arsed puttin the graft in so just fart out a deadeyed 21st century facsimile of some seasonal fave.
The Flaming Lips – Christmas at the Zoo (1995)
Like rainbow and sunshine heroin injecting themselves into one’s musical bloodstream, Wayne Coyne and his merrily fucked up accomplices somehow craft some joyful seasonal whimsy out of anthropomorphic existentialism in this delightful dos decades ol’ ditty from the pre-breakthrough pre-Soft Bulletin/Yoshimi,pre-digital, pre-Miley Cyrus WB sanctioned album Cloud Tastes Metallic; the last glorious/inglorious gasps of record company panic as they tried to understand the ‘alternative’ youth of America ( In tandem, across the waters see also Britpop era conservatism c.1994 – 1998 RIP)