I read somewhere that new Christmas songs don’t work. I didn’t get into the article but I fundamentally disagree, I’ve discovered some great Christmas songs in recent years, yes it’s a time when we rely on old classics that let us soak up that nostalgia for the Christmas of many years ago. But that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace new songs, and not just new versions of the classics like favourites of mine – Barenaked Ladies “God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen” or Sufjan Stevens “Once in Royal David’s City”.
Last year’s album from Norah Jones is a great example – a Christmas hangover of an album, as described by one critic (sorry I can’t remember who!) as an album for that Christmas – New year gap, well worth a listen. One that has stuck with me is Jamie Cullum. I’d said for years he should have released a Christmas album, he has a sound that lends itself so well to the it, and a couple of years ago he delivered with the fantastic “The Pianoman at Christmas” but the year before, as a little warm up, he released the track “Christmas don’t let me down”.
It’s a great festive track that seamlessly combines a more modern feel and lyric with that aforementioned nostalgia. The whole host of horns that soundtrack so much of an English Christmas, snowy Dickensian imagery flowing through. It’s a lovely piece of music that perfectly combines the sentiment of the song with the sound which can sometimes be trite and by the numbers, but works really well here.
I guess though part of the reason it stuck with me is in the lyric
“Take your cellphone off of the table
Look your father straight in the eye”
Most likely because the track came out the first Christmas after my dad passed away the line really echoed and pulled me in. Sometimes for a song, it just needs to hit the right feels at the right time and this one certainly did. The wave of nostalgia and the whole emotion of a first Christmas without a loved one is right there in the sentiment of “Christmas don’t let me down” – Because even in sad times you hope that Christmas will remain a beacon of light.