Advent song for December 12: When Christmas Comes

I had to swap today’s song with tomorrow’s, once I realised that my original line-up had two sad songs next to each other. There’s nothing wrong with a sad Christmas song, of course, but they’re better in small doses, and I’m moving house today so I need a song that will cheer me up and keep the energy levels high. So here with their second (and final) entry in this year’s advent calendar are Los Campesinos!, a band whose name even cheers me up.

(But yes, be warned, more Sad Christmas tomorrow.)

Advent song for December 11: Christmas Will Break Your Heart

This song didn’t exist the year we had a Sad Christmas advent calendar theme, but if it had, it would have been high up the list because it’s GREAT, with a painful and funny video that has a particularly spectacular moment at 1:35. I always get LCD Soundsystem mixed up with Black Box Recorder, for reasons I can’t pinpoint, so instead of talking about them and getting it wrong, I will allow frontman Luke Haines James Murphy to introduce the song himself, via Twitter:

so, there’s been this depressing christmas song i’d been singing to myself for the past 8 years, and every year i wouldn’t remember that i wanted to make it until december, which is just too late to actually record and release a christmas song… but this year, al doyle had a short break between hot chip tours where he could be in nyc, and pat and nancy were home, and tyler agreed to fly out from berlin for a few days, so we all recorded this together, reserved a pressing plant slot, and our friend bob weston was available to master it quickly—so that means, less than 2 weeks after we recorded it, there is actually a christmas 7″, which feels like something that could only have happened a very, very long time ago.

anyway, for the holidays we give you the previous, very long run-on sentence, and this song: “christmas will break your heart”, which is another one of those songs which had about 75 lines of lyrics, though we’ve knocked down to 8 to keep the suicide rate in check.

have fun!

Advent song for December 10: Warm This Winter

We’re going as far back as we’re allowed for today’s song, to December 2008 when this cover of a little-known Connie Francis track made it to a heady number 22 in the UK charts after being used as the soundtrack to a Co-op commercial. I’m generally anti the trend of accompanying Christmas ads with drippy, insipid versions of well-known songs (John Lewis is the worst, but not sole, culprit) but this is the opposite; a ballsy cover given bite by Gabriella Cilmi’s voice, which is firmly in Winehouse/Joplin territory and jazzes the number up immeasurably. It’s the sort of song you should dance to, and I suggest you do.

Advent song for December 9: Christmas Lights

I know I’m supposed to hate Coldplay, I just can’t remember why. The closest I’ve ever come to seeing them live was at Glastonbury 2005 (the best of the post-fence Glastonburys), when @och_shona and I got stuck in the mud their fans had churned up as we tried to take a short cut across the front of the Pyramid stage on our way back from watching the Proclaimers in whatever that falling-apart tent on the outskirts of everything used to be. So there’s that, I guess. But I can think of more Coldplay songs I like than ones I don’t (although if I’m honest I can only think of five Coldplay songs), and I like THIS song, and traditionally we’ve always saved Sunday for middle-of-the-road crooners, and they are that, and the video is like the opening sequence of Moulin Rouge! transported to London, and it GOES INTO WALTZ TIME HALFWAY THROUGH and all in all, it’s a yes from me, Simon.

Advent song for December 8: Santa’s Coming For Us

I started writing about Sia as an introduction to this post and something about what I was saying suddenly seemed familiar, so I checked and I have already said everything about Sia last year that I was going to say all over again this year. So take all of that as read, and instead take particular pleasure in this video, which features Kristen Bell as our festive hostess, as well as a panoply of cameos from other recognisable faces. This was a 2017 release and a number one hit in the US and Canada, and it is very dancealongable, so make sure to play it at your Christmas party.

Advent song for December 7: Christmas In A Crackhouse

I’m excited about today’s song because it’s the first (as far as I can remember, although ten years is a long time) by people who I know in real life. I think I met Alex in Bejam’s car park in West Wickham in 1992 (that’s where I met most of the people I met in my teens) and I was a bit scared of him because someone told me he was A SINGER IN A BAND. He is still A SINGER IN A BAND (but I’m not scared of him any more), and they tour regularly so should go and see them, but in the meantime you should watch the awesome video to last year’s awesome Christmas single, Christmas In A Crackhouse. I haven’t asked Alex whether it’s a true story, but let’s assume so.

(You can also buy it this year as a limited edition double A-side vinyl single with the punkier version, Me and Curtis, which I might like even better but it doesn’t have as many jingle bells in it.)

Advent song for December 6: On This Winter’s Night

Lady Antebellum are one of those country music acts who are stratospherically famous in the world of country music and nowhere else. This, from their 2012 Christmas album of the same name, is an original and although it definitely has the bones of a country music song, I can also hear echoes of Johnny Mathis and even Nat King Cole, via the easy-listening Rat Pack sort of Christmas music that nobody much makes any more. One of my favourite things about doing this advent calendar is how many artists and songs I’ve come across that I never would have heard of otherwise, and this track is totally making it into my laminated list.

Advent song for December 5: Love Is Everything

I liked Ariana Grande even before awful things kept happening to (or almost to) her, and I like her even more for her bold, honest, trip-up-and-try-again attitude to tragedy, which makes her infinitely more useful a role model to the millions of young people who adore her than is the icily perfect otherworldly veneer that most twentysomething superstars project. Also, she’s got a GREAT voice. This is a single from her 2013 EP Christmas Kisses and it’s a banger, so turn the volume up.

Advent song for December 4: Mistletoe

If you are young and hip like me you probably read today’s song title and thought aha! that Justin Bieber song! But although I like Justin Bieber and it is Christmassy, that song is also rubbish so I haven’t chosen it.

This song is an entirely different and much more delightful number by the Indigo Girls, whom I first encountered in my first term at university, which was also about the time I discovered that you could be gay and politically active and in a band and a GIRL. Heady days. In that first term we had a flatmate on a – secondment? Internship? What do you call it when you study somewhere else for a term? Anyway she was doing one of those – called Leanne, who was kooky and left-wing and a feminist and from somewhere like, but not actually, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin (which, I’ve just discovered, is a real place and not just from Annie Hall) and she was super cool. And she used to play us the Indigo Girls, which meant they were super cool too. And twenty-something years later, they still are.

This song is from their 2010 Christmas album Holly Happy Days (all American musicians make Christmas albums, I have discovered, even the super cool ones) and it’s really a love song rather than an overtly Christmas-themed one, but it’s called “Mistletoe” and it’s on a Christmas album and more importantly it’s great, so we’re having it anyway.

Advent song for December 3: Boots

Did you know that for years and years The Killers released a charity single every Christmas? When I was compiling this list I spent a happy hour comparing them all, and narrowing it down was a tough job, partly because the videos are at least as good as the songs (and sometimes better). What I like best about The Killers is that I never know how much of anything is a joke.

For today’s pick I’ve gone for Boots, from 2010, partly because it has a singalong chorus, excellent drums and East 17-esque bells, and rhymes “television” with “kitchen”, but mostly because I love the video, which is the most Vegas thing you’ll ever see, if you are looking for the Vegas beyond Elvis and wedding chapels. It looks like scenes from a film but it isn’t, and I have no idea what’s actually going on in it, although the fact that it stars Brad Prowly (aka Super Bad Brad), a much-loved New York City street performer, sort of gives us a vague nod at a plot, if you squint. But don’t squint too hard, otherwise you’ll miss Brandon Flowers singing on a roof overlooking the Strip at sunset, and that’s a sight we should all feast our eyes on as often as possible.