After a week off to get better from flu, celebrate Thanksgiving, do all our discount internet shopping etc, we’re BACK BABY! and ready to kick off our Christmas season with the marvellous Cam sharing his thoughts about the coveted Christmas Number One slot…
A thought occurred to me today thanks to the surprising, and warmly welcomed, news of the reunion of My Chemical Romance*. How fitting would it be to mount a campaign to get their most popular song: Welcome To The Black Parade to number one for Christmas? A funeral march for the 2010’s a decade of, at best, unrest, and at worst, unpleasant foreshadowing.
But as I started thinking about how realistic or unrealistic this campaign and its aims might be, I decided to instead turn my attention to the tradition of the Christmas number one and what we might be able to glean from it as a summary of the decade we are about to leave behind. The result, I’m afraid to say, was concerningly bland.
Musically, the Noughties went out with a hell of a bang, Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of making it all the way to the top of the charts in a Facebook-led plot against the X-Factor’s death grip over the festive top 40.
For the most part, it was a meaningless anti-establishment protest in the camp-est and most perfect ways. Made even better by “shocked” news broadcasters happy to use the story as festive filler to sign off the 6’0’clock bulletin. The perfect gift wrap on this punk present being a swear filled performance by the band themselves to an, of course aghast, radio 4 audience.
But it was and has remained the last of its kind, others have made similar attempts to jump on the festive bandwagon in surprising ways but very few have reached the national recognition that rage against the X Factor achieved. In the last few years we’ve had surprise Christmas efforts from a number of artists From the unsurprising of Robbie Williams and Josh Groban, to the more surprising of Sia all the way to the absolutely batshit insane stylings of Tyler the Creator on his Grinch who stole Christmas mixtape. All equally fun, festive and punky in their own way… Okay maybe not the Robbie or Josh Groban stuff but Tyler’s work continued his excellent brand of hip-hop punk in a festive wrapping. But, alas, none of it clocks in as particularly heavy.
It’s unsurprising, then, that what we see in the extreme at Christmas seems even more true throughout the rest of the year. Since Killing In The Name Of a decade ago it seems the heavier end of the music spectrum has become a little more absent with every passing year. And yet the wind of change is on the horizon. As Streaming charts fill up with the like of Billie Eilish, Yungblud and Juicewrld. All of whom wear their emo and rock influences on their sleeves (or to be more precise they’re heavily painted eyes).
These artists are starting to find their place amongst the many levels of behemoths who have come before them, whether it be those still building their legacy (the Enter Shikari’s and BMTH’s), the oldest of gods who have made their home on the festival circuit for many years now, the up and comers (The Creepers, Forests and many more) or the sleeping giants, many of whom are awakening from their slumber. the need for something heavier and darker seems to be returning the top 40 once more.
So, the chances are that the top 40 will once again give the Christmas single to some X Factor hopeful. The 20-teens will not go out with the same shocking musical bang that their predecessor departed with. But where the Noughties were a bang followed by a fizzle the teenies are giving way to something much more interesting indeed. The slow fizz that precedes a vibrant explosion. Something wicked this way comes and, if I were a betting man, I’d put money on it, bringing the blackest of parades along with it.
*Note to editor: please insert copious amounts of Cameron’s fan boy screams here