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Friday, 3 December 2010

~Winter Wassailing~#1: 'Just Like Christmas' by Low

A Selection Of Seasonal Songs In The ~Streetlamp~ Stylee!

And so begins our seasonal look at some Christmas ditties that, normally, we wouldn't dream of writing about in a month of Sundays, we find ourselves snowlocked by the current whiteout we thought we'd gather around the fire, mulled wine in hand, roasting our chestnuts and getting into a Morecambe-and-Wise-Porridge-Val-Doonican-Christmas-Special kind of a mood.

And what better place to start than with what maybe the favourite Christmas song of all time according to the ~Streetlamp~ gang; why yes, 'tis none other than 'Just Like Christmas' by Low!
Now this is exactly what we need on a freezing December night like this....something warm, glowing, intoxicating and slightly chewy.

From the pitter-patter drum shuffle of the intro(drums courtesy of vocalist Mimi Parker....Yes, a female singing drummer! What's not to love already!) we are into a glacial slice of Christmas yearning. What's so wonderful about this song is the sense if travel, and the expectation of it's outcome. Like perennial gruff voiced middle aged musical Horlicks 'Driving Home For Christmas' by Chris Rea, this is a song about getting back to loved ones, friends and family to share that one special day, not even necessarily in any kind of religious or spiritual sense, just that magical feeling that you really have to spend Christmas Day with the ones you love. The song manages to convey both melancholy and optimism in the same breath.
The shuffling beat of the song also alludes to a sense of motion, to a sense of travel, to a sense that everything is going to be alright, in fact damn right magical, once we get to our destination and we meet with our friends for that one joyous day.
Unlike so many Christmas songs, even some of the very best ones, this song never gets to saccharinal or gooey, and doesn't feature any terrible 'Hallmark' imagery within the lyrics.

The band Low hail from Dulluth, Minnesota and have that rural, pastoral feel that bands from New York or California seem unable to replicate properly. They gained some degree of fame when Robert Plant chose to cover their songs, probably seeing them as purveyors of pure Americana. Often rather unfairly dumped in the 'Slowcore' category, Low deserve to heard by a bigger audience, so Robert Plant's patronage was very welcome. we've already stated, we can't recommend this song highly enough....a possible contender for our most treasured Christmas song EVER!
And if you don't like it, then you simply don't like music! Or Christmas!


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