Music Reviews

Christmas Contenders

The Christmas number one has been the cherry on top of every artist’s musical year since 1952 with December being the peak of annual sales. This time of year used to bring the silly and the wacky side of every artist to the surface (oh Mr Blobby). Sadly the Bob the Builder Can we fix it? days are over as these past few years have seen the rather gloomy side of Christmas with X-Factor finalist’s ballads or charity singles competing for THE achievement of the year.

There is a reason for this. According to psychologist Dr Michael Lowis music has an emotional effect on everyone, and we enjoy listening to music that reflects how we feel. He claims “If you have a society of people who are feeling more introspective because they can’t afford to splash out on Christmas presents, they want songs that reflect that.”

So, bearing in mind Dr Michael Lowis’ theory, this year we’re not expecting anything different than the last (The Military Wives Choir – Wherever You Are) with the Robbie Williams-led charity cover of The Hollies’ 1969 hit He Ain’t Heavy… He’s My Brother which has already been favourited by the bookies. The single features talents including Paul McCartney, Mel C, Rebecca Ferguson, Paloma Faith and many more, all helping towards the Hillsborough disaster charity.

Another main contender is X Factor winner, James Arthur, with his cover of Shontelle’s Impossible. The X Factor has dominated 5 of the past 7 years of Christmas number one’s and James has already managed to top the iTunes chart. His winner’s song, which has already sold 255,000 copies since Sunday night (45,000 more copies than last year’s winners Little Mix) is definitely going to do well. However, the falling ratings of the reality show, and the distance between now and the Christmas chart (20 whole days!) may put ‘King Arthur’ at a huge disadvantage.

As always, the song featuring in the heart warming, festive John Lewis Christmas advert is a sure fire opponent. This year it’s the turn of young Gabrielle Aplin, covering the 1984 hit The Power of Love. The single is already doing well in the current chart but will its fate be the same as the originals? Will it lose against another charity single?

And let’s not rule out the Novelty Christmas records; both Christina Perri and Rod Steward are releasing Christmas albums this year and of course we can’t forget the festive Christmas album of all, Michael Buble’s Christmas.

Overall, it looks like it shall be a gloomy Christmas number one, without any hint of light hearted Christmas cheer. We’d all love to say that a cheery Christmas number one is coming our way, but it looks as though a slow ballad, whether it shall be a X Factor Finalist, charity single or the voice behind the John Lewis advert is on the cards.


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