Latest playlists to arrive:
1) Emma Preston – Boom!
Billy Gibbons, Lemmy and Dave Grohl – Run Run Rudolph
The Vandals – Dance of the sugarplum fairies
Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime
Bing and Bowie – Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth
The Vandals – Oi to the world
The Hives and Cyndi Lauper – A Christmas Duel
Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis
John Lennon – War is Over
Nat King Cole – the Christmas song
Bing Crosby – White Christmas
Another good one – it’s got ‘light and shade’ / ‘loud and quiet’ / ‘old and new’ / ‘classic & novel’ / ‘covers & original’. It’s hits the ‘Geographically appropriate’ requirement (Lennon) and it finishes with Bing, that’s a good finish – it evokes classic christmas. That could only be topped by one thing and that would be George Bailey. The Hives and Cyndi Lauper is fun as is the opening supergroup. A serious contender.
2) Pippa & John Haywood – The Haywoods Second Xmas Offering and Quirky Christmas
Right, there’s no getting away from it ….these two are special….
Starting with ‘Stoned Soul Christmas’ is a great choice, it starts with a party sound that seems to comes straight off the opening of the best album ever (Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’). Frankly I now want a Christmas cognac and a mince pie to go with this, actually it’s so good I’m going to put it on again. Does lose it a bit at the end though when you get an unshakeable recollection of the Donkey from Shrek, and sheeeeeet if Eddie Murphy’s at this party we can’t do Christmas without mentoning ‘Trading Places’ and a drunk bummed out Santa Dan Ackroyd.
One of those doesn’t arrive thankfully – ‘I hate December’ by Ivy does. This is previously unknown to me and it’s great – somehow sounds like the Sundays ‘Summertime’ but for the opposite season – which means I LOVE IT. Then Badly Drawn Boy rocks up, all ramshackle and too bloody talented for his own good, it’s also very lovely, good kettle drums a lesser used Xmas instrument. Reminds me that although it’s not an Xmas song – Badly Drawn Boy do the best cover of ‘Come On Eileen’ too. The Ramones arrive just at the right time to turn up the tempo and give the opportunity to pop on a leather jacket, but a leather jacket with sleigh bells on. It’s a proper length of song too – it doesn’t over stay it’s welcome (unlike some festive guests). The Vandals ‘My first Christmas as a woman’ follows the Ramones well – love is a many genderd thing you know, did I mention it’s a pink leather jacket, fetching eh – goes with my eyes, and the heels. Gary the green nosed reindeer is okay but it’s got a little too much of a novelty feel and vocal processing that’s supposed to be Eminem-esque which doesn’t seem to suit the chirpy guitar work, the raspy bass is a bit annoying too. Santa’s lost his Mojo see’s this get back on track though – it’s VERY Mumford and Sons. The Moshi Moshi ‘A gift for you’ album throws up ‘Just Like Christmas’ from Ingo Star Cruiser and it’s superb, a bit flaming lips when they remember to include a tune. Some Sufjan Steven’s then arrives, there’s a surfeit of treasures on this album for the Xmas-ophile and this is one of the best. Ending with Brenda Lee ‘I’m gonna lasso Santa Claus’ is a PERFECT ENDING – this is a masterclass in doing understated novelty ‘I’m gonna tug his beard’ – didn’t you just want to do that as a kid ?
Quirky Christmas makes you sit up – not least because it must stand alone in the Xmas song cannon for mentioning Shotgun shells with the first 10 seconds – Mojo Nixon takes the Kingsmen’s version of Louie Louie and adds sleigh bells, tequila and some growling, it’s the song you want if your going out to an Xmas party. It mention’s It’s A Wonderful life and that’s always a good thing… why hasn’t anyone included anything from that yet, the soundtracks available. Kay Starr sashy’s in, it’s all big band and glittery ball dresses – it’s GORGEOUS in every possible way (a small confession it’s buying the Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails albums about 10 years ago that started this whole Xmas song obsession, so this wins in spades). And then some Spector …. Darlene Love … sigh, great combination from Kay Starr into this. Dig That Crazy Santa Claus jumps the joint with a 50’s Rock and Roll / boogie-woogie style and it does it very well. Alan Jackson does what all good Country acts should do – makes you sad and then question how you can be sad and tap your toes at the same time, it’s a little bit more chirpy than John Denver’s take on the same song and the peddle steal is all slidey and twangy, the fiddles a bit annoying though. Country is saved by the arrival of JOHNNY CASH (frankly I’m still happy he was used on the Channel 4 season trail for Homeland), it’s a spoken word piece with humming and harmonies. It get’s to the soul of Christmas way more than anything else has in this competition to date and it’s more emotionally manipulative than the John Lewis ad – a film unfolds in your head listening to it, properly arresting. The Fratellis is fuzzy, warm and vocals seem to have a Wizzardy haze to them, which is a very good thing. A terrific cover of the Waitresses ‘Christmas Wrapping’ shimmers and seems to speed up in an iridescent and fuzzy soup of cosy wordiness. Mojo Nixon then demonstrate’s that he got a Wah Wah pedal last Xmas. Ending with a Tijuana inspired ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ somehow sounds like the theme tune to a 70’s sitcom and instantly reminds you of 70’s Christmas Telly, genius, pure damn genius.
Frankly this duo of playlists set’s a new standard – John and Pippa are the one’s to beat.