Advent Song for December 2: One More Sleep

This modern-day, less unsettling version of the Last Christmas video where lots of young beautiful people go to the countryside together to throw snowballs, is a little bit annoying, but the song is a gorgeous one and I’ve always loved the sound of Leona Lewis’s voice. A good thing about this year’s theme is that it gives me free rein to include a mixture of modern pop, jazz/crooner standards and carols, so that is what I’ve done, although I think this is probably the newest song on the list.

Talking of modern pop, and women with great voices, today’s bit of good news that you might have missed is Sia sneaking into a supermarket in LA last week and paying for strangers’ shopping by pretending to be a lottery winner called “CiCi” who wanted to share her good fortune. This is both inspired and inspiring. If you could just make one person’s day better, even, why wouldn’t you?

Advent 2019: Good news, it’s Christmas!

I nearly didn’t do an advent calendar this year, partly because none of the ideas I had quite grabbed me, and partly because what with a General Election exactly halfway through advent, the planet being on fire and the overwhelming shitshow that is both the global and national political scene, I wasn’t sure I could keep up the requisite amount of seasonal cheer.

But then I realised, well, that’s the point, isn’t it? A moment of brightness in the dark. A chance to remember that not everything is awful. So this year’s calendar will feature a daily dose of good news, as well as a Christmas song that makes me happy. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that all Christmas songs would make me happy, but some make me wistful and others make me irritated and nothing that falls into either category gets a look-in this year. I am also not including anything by anyone whose death I am still sad about, so there’s no George Michael (sorry Lucy), David Bowie or Kirsty McColl this year, but we are allowed Bing Crosby and, of course, because it is literally the happiest Christmas song of all, Andy Williams with his completely joyous and uplifting version of Sleigh Ride.

As Adam Hills says on The Last Leg every time something awful happens, the trick to avoid sinking into despair is to look for the people who are helping. Today’s good news is a month old, but you might have missed it: a research team in Sweden have found a way to store solar energy for up to ten years, making the prospect of heating homes in winter via solar power a viable one.

Advent song for Christmas Eve: December Song

As I explained twenty-four days ago, Cliff hasn’t had a Christmas hit in the last decade so we couldn’t squeeze him in, but the other patron saint of Christmas, George Michael, did have a belated follow-up to Last Christmas in 2008 (and again the next year, because that can happen now), with this beautiful and wistful song. I’m still a bit cross that he’s not here, but if he can’t be then praise baby Jesus that at least we can still listen to him.

Note: if you’ve already been Whamageddoned then you should obviously listen to Last Christmas immediately after this. If you’re still playing, you can stay within the rules by listening to my brother’s version instead.

Merry Georgemas!

Advent song for December 23: One More Sleep

It’s sort of fitting that I forgot to publish this yesterday because now there really is one more sleep to go. And lucky you, you get to enjoy it at 6.45am because lucky me, I forgot to switch off my alarm even though I absolutely don’t have to go to work today, or (currently) ever again.

This is the almost-winner because if you’ve been playing close attention you’ll have noticed that all of the songs we’ve had until now are yet to become nailed-on stone-cold Christmas classics…except for this one, which just is.

Advent song for December 22: Christmas In L.A.

What sort of a Christmas person are you? Are you fully prepped and settling in for a weekend of mince pies and mulled wine? Or are you thinking about making a start on your Christmas shopping? I hope it’s the former, because you will need to pay this video your full attention for its entire five minutes and twelve seconds in order to appreciate everything about it. If their video for Boots was beautiful, The Killers’ collaboration with Dawes (and Irving Berlin) three years later, its video featuring Owen Wilson and Harry Dean Stanton and filmed, animated and edited by students at Brigham Young University, is the shining pinnacle of their charitable Christmas efforts and it really deserves not to be on in the background while you do something else, so make yourself a hot chocolate with marshmallows in, turn the volume up high and settle in.

Advent song for December 20: White Christmas

Oh look! It’s the only artist among this year’s line-up who was on the shortlist for the Time magazine Person of the Year for 2018. She didn’t win, but Gaga is the queen of all our hearts nonetheless since shedding her pirate’s costume to win everyone over as the overwhelmingly normal Ally in hot Oscars favourite A Star Is Born (although EYE liked her before she was normal).

I somehow missed this version when we did our White Christmas special five years ago, so here she is with a 2011 rendition of everyone’s favourite seasonal standard. I agree with the top commenter, Erick Calderilla Videos, who says She´s Really A Good Artist. She Can Sing, Dance And Create New Things, Not Only In Pop Music… IN THE WORLD SHE´S A GOOD AND HAPPY PERSON.

Advent song for December 19: Black Christmas

Alright, this 2010 single is technically more of an anti-Christmas song, what with being inspired by the story of an LA killing spree by a gunman dressed as Santa and featuring lines like “A child was born on Christmas Day/But they crucified him anyway”, and its innate melancholy is further underscored by the fact that Poly Styrene, aka Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, died just a few months later from breast cancer at the horribly early age of 53. But the video also features her very-much-alive daughter, Celeste Bell-Dos Santos, who as well as looking nearly exactly like her mother is now busy making a film about her, and the spirit of Poly Styrene lives on in some of my favourite artists, including the star of tomorrow’s advent calendar, so although she may have left us, she isn’t gone, and here she’s perfect in the way that only punk superstars in their fifties ever are.

Advent song for December 18: Getting Ready For Christmas Day

There’s only one well-known Christmas song by Simon and Garfunkel: their haunting 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night which is a portmanteau of the well-known carol with a simulated (but based on real events) news broadcast which gradually takes over from the angelic singing to remind us that NOT EVERYTHING IS PEACE AND GOODWILL, MKAY? And Paul Simon clearly decided while writing this 2010 Christmas single that the format wasn’t broke so he wasn’t fixing it, and came up with a jolly, bob-along, Cecilia-ish track that hovers around the edges of being political and is superimposed over a sample of a 1941 sermon by the Reverend J.M. Gates. The result is a slightly complex mishmash of meanings (from which I think you’re allowed to choose your favourite), but if you ignore all of that and just listen to the sound of it I promise it’ll make you want to dance. Which is more than can be said for Silent Night.

Advent song for December 17: Mary, Did You Know?

Technically this song dates from 1991, but since this version of it is from 2012 it’s allowed. There’s a version by Pentatonix, whom we heard from last week with That’s Christmas To Me, which has a better video, but this version by CeeLo Green is my pick because his voice is just soaringly beautiful, it’s a better and more interesting arrangement and because at 2:24 it goes full Live And Let Die, which is what you probably, and I definitely, need on a chilly December Monday.