The 20 Greatest Christmas Songs

Simply a list of our favourite Christmas songs…

20: Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) by The Darkness (2003)
The Darkness weren’t good for much, but they were perfect for Christmas.

19: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid 20 (2004)
Maybe controversial that we’ve gone for the reincarnation of the 80’s hit, but Dizzee Rascal tips the balance.

18: Lonely This Christmas by Mud (1974)
♫ It’ll be cold, so cold …

17: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by Mel & Kim (1987) 
Possessing just that little bit more character than the original.

16: White Christmas by Bing Crosby (1942/1947)
You just can’t not include it.

15: 2000 Miles by The Pretenders (1983)
♫ I miss you. The children were singing, he’ll be back at Christmastime

14: Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord by Boney M. (1978)
The single best Christmas medley, ever. 

13: Santa Claus is Coming To Town
Whoever does it, one of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time.

12: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses (1981)
♫ Oh Damn! Guess what I forgot?

11: I Believe In Father Christmas by Greg Lake (1975)
Whether it’s protesting the commercialisation of Christmas or about losing youth and innocence, this is a cracker.

10: The Power of Love by Gabrielle Aplin (2012)
Frankie’s version was good, but Aplin’s for John Lewis blew it out of the water. 

9: Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea (1986)
Quintessentially Christmas, even if the 2009 video is terrible.

8: Step Into Christmas by Elton John (1973)
♫ Step into Christmas, let’s join together, we can watch the snow fall forever and ever.

7: Last Christmas by Wham (1984)
A dreadful song, but one you can’t stop singing around Christmas.

6: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (1963)
It’s one of those songs that gets into your head for hours and you really don’t mind.

Joint 4: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard (1973)
Ok, a cop out – but we really couldn’t choose between this …

Joint 4: Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade (1973)
… and this. What a year 73 was!

3: Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon (1971)
I dare you not to belt it out. I dare you. 

2: Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie (1980)
Another fantastic tune not originally intended to be a Christmas hit.

1: Fairytale of New York by The Pogues (feat. Kirsty MacColl) (1987)
For us, the ultimate Christmas song. Both a great song and an iconic hit this time of year. 

 

∗ All I Want For Christmas Is You appeared on both of our top 20’s but too low to feature here when combining. Truth be told, we are both kinda glad about that. We were including it for the iconic nature, not the quality of the song. Gareth hates it, and is delighted it’s not here. 

T in the Park 2014 – Saturday Review

IMG_0956

Saturday was pop day on main stage, with acts such as Calvin Harris, Pharrell and Katy B taking to the stage. Our only mission on Saturday was to avoid this, due to it not exactly being to our taste. Luckily, there were The 1975, Bombay Bicycle Club and Ben Howard on other stages to stop the boredom from creeping in. That being said, the middle of the day didn’t have much going on for us so we spent most of it checking out unsigned acts in T-Break and BBC Introducing.

The 1975 – Radio 1 Stage, 20:25 – 21:25:
Reviewed by Emma

b

I bought The 1975’s album not long ago due to seeing an advert for them and liking what I heard. To be honest, by the time T in the Park came around I hadn’t listened to the album as much as I should’ve done because I found some of it different to listen to, such as 12 (seems to be around a minute of nothing), so I was apprehensive seeing them live. However, I am happy to say that I will be listening to their songs more often as they impressed me when live which I wasn’t expecting. It’s clear to see the lead singer is a little bit of a cocky jerk but he was amusing to watch smoking when singing and drinking out of what either was a champagne or wine bottle.

The gig started with their self titled track The 1975, which clearly shows a lot about their ego, which the mainly teenage dominated crowd screamed to and loved as well as every other single song (they could’ve been utter shit and they still would’ve screamed their love and devotion). However, unlike the normal teenage girl attracting bands The 1975 do at least have decent songs such as The City, one of their singles, which was impressive live even if I didn’t know the lyrics very well. As well as Imagine Dragons, The 1975 played bonus songs – although they didn’t only play seven songs in total luckily – which were Milk, So Far (It’s Alright) and You. I am not a devoted fan like the majority of the crowd so I didn’t know the songs at all however again they were enjoyable to listen to and the crowd certainly sang along and had fun. M.O.N.E.Y., Talk!, She Way Out, Heart Out and Pressure were all great live and good album tracks with catchy melodies and nice sounding guitar riffs. The 1975 are incredibly catchy with singles such as Settle Down and Robbers which the crowd and I all found ourselves singing along to the choruses and dancing around. The ending of the set was ideal for any man… Girls, Chocolate and Sex. It is safe to say The 1975 are a band obsessed with girls and sex but if you look past their immaturity the set was very well rounded off with their most popular songs.

Overall, I would say that The 1975 are good live but I would like to see them again because I need to know their songs better so I can truly appreciate them. It’s clear to see that The 1975 are like marmite because the lead singer is a cocky Alex Turner wannabe and their songs are immaturely based upon sex and girls but if you look past that (and the screaming girls) they are very enjoyable to watch live.

Emma’s rating: 5/10. Favourite Song: Chocolate

Gareth’s verdict:

Having heard Chocolate and not much else, I first listened to the album and wasn’t totally convinced. The album is disjointed with some great songs getting almost lost by nothing tracks. Still, upon seeing them live I have a lot more love for them. They were much better than I expected, although the quality of the three bonus tracks seems to suggest they aren’t good at choosing album tracks. It will be interesting to follow their future career, they could become big stars just as easily as they could fall away.

Gareth’s rating: 5/10. Favourite song: Sex

Bombay Bicycle Club – Radio 1 Stage, 21:55 – 22:55
Reviewed by Emma

IMG_0957

I’ve known of Bombay Bicycle Club for several years but for some reason I never ventured out to buy their albums. After too long, I bought their second album, Flaws, as it was on offer and pretty quickly after that I felt the need to buy their other three albums which are just as incredible. Although, when I first bought the albums I didn’t realise the true extent of their greatness and that is why seeing Bombay live is a definite must. They are the obvious surprise of the festival because I could not imagined they would be that amazing.

The set was opened perfectly with Overdone and It’s Alright Now from their recent chart topping album So Long, See You Tomorrow. Overdone has a wonderful intro and outro and It’s Alright Now had the whole crowd singing along  so it was a simply incredible introduction to their continually perfect set. Followed by two songs from their equally good third album, A Different Kind of Fix, Shuffle and Lights Out, Words Gone are awesome songs. The upbeat piano riff in Shuffle and nice guitar riffs in Lights Out, Words Gone caused the crowd to all dance along without hesitation. Come To, Home By Now and Luna are other songs from their number one album which were simply superb live with Home By Now featuring their touring member Liz Lawrence who sang the chorus very well. Bombay played three songs from their first album, I Had Blues But I Shook Them Loose, What If, Evening/Morning and Always Like This, which are their more indie sounding songs and there is no way in faulting them, especially What If which is incredible live. For me, the main highlights of the set were How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep (from their third album), Feel and Carry Me (both from their fourth album) because without a doubt they were amongst their best songs live. How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep had the lyrics come up on the screen behind them so the ambience within the crowd was enjoyable as the majority were singing along. Feel is upbeat clearly with Indian influences and the lead singer Jack Steadman was encouraging the crowd to dance along saying to “have ourselves a dance party in here” and he did not disappoint. Carry Me was the ultimate ending to this perfect set with catchy lyrics, an upbeat tempo and a generally incredible nature.

Bombay Bicycle Club were a massive surprise live with a truly wonderful set which you couldn’t help dancing and singing along to. We’ve already booked to see them again in December because there is no doubt that they are a band Gareth and I want to see over and over again. They seem like genuinely nice, down to earth people who can make music that can give you goosebumps – it’s that good. I would seriously recommend them.

Emma’s rating: 10/10. Favourite song: How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep

Gareth’s verdict:

Surprise of the weekend? Definitely! Of all the bands Emma gave me to listen to before T, Bombay had always been my favourite but I had no idea they would be so good live. Dancing and singing for an hour, they rocked Radio 1 stage to a sparse crowd (mainly due to the fact Paolo Nutini was on main). The crowd was almost entirely made up of Bombay fans, which gave it a very special atmosphere.

Gareth’s rating: 10/10. Favourite song: Feel

Ben Howard – King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent, 23:35 – 00:50
Reviewed by both

p022sv8b

Emma remembers hearing Ben Howard for the first time when he performed for the Brit Awards 2013 playing his single Only Love from his first album, Every Kingdom, with just his guitar and a cellist. Four days later she had bought the album and fell in love with his songs almost immediately. We were both looking forward to seeing him live when we saw the line up for T and it is fair to say we had high expectations because on his album his songs are superb. His quality performing live is by no means bad, in fact he is pretty incredible, however, his set wasn’t appropriate for a festival so he was a little boring. Four out of his nine songs were new and as he hasn’t released any of them, his new album hasn’t even been announced yet, it was a little strange to watch with the crowd often complaining to hear his old songs.

Ben started the set with two new songs, Conrad and Rivers in your Mouth, which were incredibly odd to begin with especially seeing he was fifteen minutes after getting lost. The apprehensive crowd were disappointed not being able to get into the full swing of things until these two songs were over which took around twenty minutes seeing as he extends each of his songs to be about ten minutes which is great unless you’ve never heard the song before… Which the whole crowd hadn’t. Finally, Ben truly began his set with Black Flies which the crowd were relieved by and suddenly the atmosphere of the whole of the tent was amazing. Everyone was singing along to every word which was consistent throughout (except for the new songs) so he clearly attracted his devoted fans which was a massive audience – surprising considering he was headlining at the same time as Calvin Harris and Elbow. Followed by the immensely popular The Wolves which he extended perfectly with the whole crowd singing and showing he is a truly talented musician. His singing was flawless throughout the set and his guitar playing was incredible especially when he was playing complicated riffs whilst singing at the same time. Disappointingly, next he played Small Things another new song that nobody knew which immediately destroyed the buzzing atmosphere he had just established. Don’t get us wrong, his new songs sound excellent and we will be buying his new album when it is released however to play them at a festival where people are expecting to be able to have a great time and sing along it wasn’t a good idea to play four unknown songs. Luckily, Ben picked up the atmosphere playing Only Love and Keep Your Head Up which the crowd loved and Only Love was just as good, if not better, than it was when performed on the Brit Awards. After Keep Your Head Up, it was clear to see what a genuine guy Ben Howard is; he clearly doesn’t like the limelight he has received after becoming famous preferring to keep himself to himself, which is probably why he disappeared for a little while. He seemed emotional saying something around the likes of “some days you don’t believe in the records you make and some you do” and on the brink of tears he added, “today, I do”. He continued with The Fear which was beautifully extended, upbeat and catchy. Even in his emotional state he was incredible – showing his true talent at writing and performing awesome songs which he can make five minutes longer by including the crowd and riffing at the end. Now, you would think he would end his set with this perfect closing number leaving the crowd satisfied and content but he finished his set with End of the Affair (another new song). Most of the crowd left because why stay when you don’t know the song (another ten minutes of silently watching in boredom) and it’s past one o’clock in the morning as he overran? Obviously, we stayed and the song is what you describe as an emotional love song and incredibly odd to end your set to in a headlining slot at a massive festival.

Overall, we would describe the set as strange. It was a little disheartening to watch new song after new song when you were there to hear the hits. In fact, the only saving grace during these was that we were inside and therefore protected from the rain. That being said, the songs from Every Kingdom were outstanding live and well worth the wait to see. Ben is clearly a very talented singer, songwriter and guitar player and we can’t wait to hear, listen and love his new songs. But at a festival? Not what we wanted!

Our rating: 6/10. Favourite song: The Fear

Other Acts:

The biggest dilemma for us was whether to see Nina Nesbitt or John Newman, both of whom we knew but not very well. We chose John and weren’t disappointed with him, as the soulful set persuaded us to buy his album, Tribute. Cowering from the rain, we darted into BBC Introducing and T-Break stage at various points where we saw Chloe Howl, Lisbon, Charlotte OC and The Amazing Snakeheads. The first three we would be quite happy to see again, the last one made our ears bleed and we never want to hear another song from them ever again. Even being tortured to the sound of “Happy” would be better than The Amazing Snakeheads.