This is another one that’s much too happy to be a genuinely sad song. It has more or less the same sentiments as Last Christmas, but it’s much jollier, and I can’t imagine being able to sing it without smiling. There’s also an awesome key change around 01:40 and a triumphant bit of Penny Lane-esque trumpet which reaches its peak on around two minutes, so look out for those.
This is the happiest sad Christmas song I know, because it features memorably in Bernard and the Genie, which is just about my favourite Christmas film of all time. In fact, if you haven’t seen it you must watch it right now!
Honestly, you can’t get the staff. All I needed was one of you to remind me, amid the bustle of a busy December Tuesday, that you were owed a song. However, today you get two, so it all works out in the end, though you may not agree by the time you’ve listened to them both.
Up first, my favourite Christmas number one of all, not counting Always On My Mind which I’m not because it’s not Christmassy, even though it did feature on 2010’s glad all over advent calendar. This also isn’t Christmassy until the bells right at the end, which they admitted later to having added in a bid to nab the number one spot. Canny boys, those East Seventeens. However, the video is the Christmassiest thing since Boney M in furs.
And in case that’s left you feeling unnecessarily cheery, here’s another MASSIVE DOWNER that’s more in keeping with this year’s theme of separation, family breakdown and drunken violence. You’re welcome!
Apologies, being back from holiday has shot my routine, so today’s song is late. Luckily, it speaks for itself. Happy Mondays!
It’s not exactly clear from this uncharacteristically downbeat Everley Brothers number just how Christmas Eve Can Kill You. The options seem to include frostbite, being run over and being murdered by a driver when you hitchhike, but I expect there are other possibilities. This is another “Christmas away from the ones you love” song, although it’s not clear that our narrator has anyone left to love. It is a peculiarly sombre and solitary song and just right for the most wistful day of the week.
Edit: now featuring the correct video!
Here on the gladallover musical advent calendar I always like to dedicate Saturdays to something a bit different, so here for your enjoyment is an anomaly: a song that both sounds and is sad, as well as being haunting and lovely. It was probably recorded around 1996, though factual information about the band, Glaswegians The Blue Nile, is often hard to nail down with any certainty. It is, in any case, a gorgeous listen and one which will set you up nicely for your Christmas shopping/trip to the garden centre/whatever it is you do on the first Saturday in December. Me? I’m off to visit a palace built by a Tsar.
Greetings from the Baltic coast. You join me as I depart Tallinn for Helsinki, where I am told it’s even colder. No matter; I have tea to warm my blood and music to warm my heart, though this particular number is more likely to send shivers down your spine than warm your cockles, for which I can only apologise and say: we’re all in this together. This is about as bad as it gets, so if you’re still with me by the end you can safely stay for the long haul. Bring tissues.
All Carpenters songs are sad, and by their standards this is actually quite cheery, but it is still about being away from the one you love at Christmas, which is one of the staple themes of Sad Christmas. It’s tricky working out how best to balance songs like this, and yesterday’s, with the genuinely traumatising stuff that’s yet to come. What I’m banking on is that the song I have in mind for Christmas Eve will make it all ok again. Fingers crossed.
This falls into the category of Christmas songs that are only sad if you listen very carefully (there are a few more of them to come). I’m at Gatwick waiting to be flown to Christmas markets and the Baltic coast, so I can’t be too sad today. I dare you not to sing along.
I need to warn you that Last Christmas is really at the very light-hearted end of this year’s selection of songs. Separation, imprisonment, death, poverty and familial breakdown are common themes, sometimes all at the same time. There’s also a generous helping of tragic children and country music, both of which feature in this harrowing number from Skip Ewing, which does at least feature a happy ending, if you can stick with it that far. I’m easing you in gently.