Bright Eyes – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen [from A Christmas Album, Saddle Creek, Out Now]The Skinny: This is from their 2002 Christmas album, which has just been re-released on vinyl.
David: It’s a bit… dull.
Rose: But I don’t think that’s their fault – I think this is one of the more boring Christmas traditionals…
D: Aye it’s their fault – no one forced them to record it!
Scott: I’d give this 6.
D: SIX?!? I’d say that’s very generous…
R: It’s fine. If I had a trendy shop I’d play it.
D: It’s the musical equivalent of having an uncomfortable chat with a distant relative on Christmas Day – unwelcome and boring.
Kate: We’re setting the bar really low. Let’s go 5.
Future of the Left – The Real Meaning of Christmas [from How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident, Prescriptions, Out Now]D: It’s certainly more exciting than Bright Eyes. They have some amazing lyrics normally – I liked that one 'where were you when Russell Brand discovered fire?' This one could do with some sleigh bells though.
R: Yeah, sleigh bells would really make this…
K: Still, we should go high – 8.
Olaf the Singing Snowman – In Summer [from Disney’s Frozen, in cinemas 6 Dec]D, watching the accompanying video and looking displeased: Is he drinking whisky? And why’s he not melting?
R: He doesn’t know about melting! He’s never known anything but the cold, and this is his summer fantasy! I imagine there’s a tragic twist…
D: This is making me want to throw up.
R: It’s making me want to cry!
D: It’s fucking horrendous.
R: It’s not – if you were seven years old…
D: If I was 7 I’d still know that snowmen melt!
D: If you give that a 9 I quit the band.
K: I don’t think that can have more than 2 or 3.
R: 5! In my shop I’d have that and Bright Eyes, on a loop. It’s a strange shop.
Erasure – Make it Wonderful [from Snow Globe, Mute, Out Now]R: There are some big expectations here.
D: Just waiting for a big chorus…
Chorus comes and goes.
R: Well it’s not really reaching lofty heights is it?
D: I really like Erasure, and I think that’s making me sympathetic towards this.
R: I don’t hate it. It might be a grower.
D: They’re just damned by their own back catalogue. Erasure would get a 10, but this… 6.
Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals [from Bitter Rivals, Lucky Number, Out Now]D: That sounded like Limp Bizkit for a while…
R, singing: 'You’re my butterfly, sugar baby.' Sorry, that’s really harsh – no one wants to be compared to Crazy Town…
S: I think that should get 3.
The Skinny: That puts it level with Olaf the Singing Snowman…
R: I preferred Olaf. That had charm.
S: What happened to us being nice?
Leona Lewis – One More Sleep [Syco Music, out now]R: Oh good, the most boring woman in pop…
D: 'Five more nights sleeping on my own' – is she going to shag Santa?
K: I think this is alright. It has the catchiest chorus so far.
R: But it’s really boring. It’s more clichéd than the Disney song.
D: It makes me think I should be panicking in a supermarket.
K: I think this might be a 5 as well. We have to give it some points for being so Christmassy…
R: It’s so cliched though! Plagiarism should not be rewarded!
D: We’ll say 4.
Eminem feat. Nate Ruess – Headlights [from The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Aftermath/Shady/Interscope, Out Now]R: Is that Dido singing?
D: I think it’s Dr Dre…
S, noticing how much of the song has passed: Hold on where’s Eminem?
Marshall starts rapping; the band start sniggering.
K: Can we give this 1?
D: No! He loves his mother, you can’t give him 1!
S: I think I’ve heard enough.
R: It sounds like an album track.
D: An East 17 album track…
R: 'Cleaning out my closet' – ah, a reference to another Eminem song. Either that or it’s something he does often.
K: Maybe he does it at Christmas?
Run the Jewels – A Christmas Fucking Miracle [from Run the Jewels, Fool’s Gold, Out Now]R: Well there’s some jingle bells…
D: 'Doesn’t get his portion' – that can be a problem at tables of large families.
S: It’s definitely better than Eminem anyway…
K: It is better than Eminem, though I think it lulled us into a false security, because it started so Christmassy.
R: I think there should be more songs that mix swearing and jingle bells.
The Skinny: Is hip-hop something you would usually listen to?
D: All the hip-hop albums I’ve got are older ones like Jurassic 5 and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, so I wouldn’t say I was in touch! Shall we give that 6?
R: I think higher.
D: OK, 7. It had sleigh bells and lots of words. And he was on about Christmas dinner, and that’s tough.
Kurt Vile – Snowflakes are Dancing [from Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze, Matador, Out Now]D: I like this – it’s soothing. It’s the kind of thing I can imagine lying in the Meadows listening to, trying to block out a djembe player.
R: Yeah this is good. I’d like to listen to the album.
K: What’s our highest score so far? 8? Then let’s give that 9.
D: Now there’s only one place left to go…
AC/DC – Highway to Hell [from Highway to Hell, Sony Music CMG, Out Now]Playing with decorations, pulling crackers and examining the (rather rubbish) gifts inside...
R: A set square!
D: I’ve got a wee thimble!
K: I’ve got two jokes here. Let’s see… ‘What’s the smelliest animal on the farm?’ This is terrible…
R: Well objectively speaking I’d probably say the cows.
K: The toilet duck!
D: You don’t get ducks on farms! Maybe in idyllic fucking brochures…
K: ‘Why did the onion cry?’
D: Because he was struggling with being a sentient vegetable?
K: 'Because he accidentally cut himself.'
The Skinny, steering conversation back to task at hand: So, any thoughts on the campaign to have AC/DC as Christmas number one?
R: I think those contrarians are trying to steal Christmas out of the mouths of…
R: …charity, and they’re missing the point, which is we should be funnelling money into Simon Cowell’s pocket.
D: Maybe he’ll release our next album?
R: Oh, please let us sign to SyCo!
D: You’re only saying that so you can hang out with SuBo.
K: Just give that 8.
The Skinny: Speaking of SuBo…
Susan Boyle and Elvis Presley – O Come All Ye Faithful [Syco, 9 Dec]K: It’s not a duet with dead Elvis is it? Oh my god it is…
Elvis pipes up.
D: Oh Jesus Christ.
K: I think this might have to get zero. There’s no reason to do a duet with dead Elvis.
R: SuBo can do what she likes!
D: For the record, we love SuBo but dead Elvis can go fuck himself.
K: Definitely zero. I think any duet with a dead person is out.
R: I think it’s realising the dream of life after death, which is what we’re supposed to think about at Christmas…
The Skinny: I’d say that’s more of an Easter theme…
R: In that case it should be Easter number one.
D: Can you make sure it’s clear that we love SuBo? Unfortunately dead Elvis has dragged her down…
TRACK OF THE MONTH: Bad Religion – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (from Christmas Songs, Epitaph, Out now]R: Now this is a Christmas cover.
D: I could imagine falling off a table to this.
K: I’d definitely play this album at Christmas. I think it’s really fun.
R: Do you think McBusted will do a Christmas album?
D: I don’t want to talk about that…
K: I think that one has to get 10.
[written for the December issue of The Skinny]