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Julian Casablancas - 'I Wish It Was Christmas Today'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:43 UK time, Thursday, 24 December 2009

Julian Casablancas

It started in the weirdier ends of the American alternative fraternity. Melancholy artists like Low or Sufjan Stevens (ask a snooty music buff) would put out funny little Christmas songs as a way to show their warm, fuzzy underbelly and escape from the weight of their own seriousness.

This is because no-one ever likes to think of themselves as being weighty and heavy-hearted all the time, not even him out of Editors, so throwing yourself back into the excitement of your childhood is a good way of dropping the 'tortured artiste' mask for a bit. Also, Christmas hymns can be pretty melancholy too, so while there's a spiralling double-helix of irony/sincerity about the whole endeavour, it tends to be a win-win for all concerned.

(Here's the song. Handsome fella, isnee?)

Nowadays you are no-one in the world of indie without a fun Christmas song, and if you can nick one off a TV show like Saturday Night Live, so much the better.

Boffins will note that it's basically a Ramones song with sleighbells and that it has silly lyrics, and therefore runs the risk of being labelled as just a throwaway novelty. Now, it's important to state (AGAIN) that this is true of ALL AMAZING POP MUSIC. Anything which is fun can be dismissed by people who are not fun as being trivial, but they are not fun, so who cares what they think? Let them put their own Christmas EP out, and then we'll talk.

Did I mention silly lyrics? Here's my personal favourite:

"I don't care what the neighbours say, Christmas time is near"

Which begs the question: Who is right? I mean I've lived in some strange places, but I've never had arguments with my neighbours about what time of year it is. If Julian had been feeling festive in June, and decided to pop a Santa hat on, the line would make a certain kind of sense, but his neighbours would be well within their rights to do that tap-tap-curly-wurly-cuckoo thing after he'd gone out.

On the other hand, if he lives next to people who refuse to acknowledge that December is traditionally considered to be Christmas - it's not a faith issue, most people know WHEN Christmas is, even if they don't celebrate it - he should maybe consider getting a few more bolts fitted to his front door.

Where was I? Oh yes. So the thing is, if the Strokes had come back with a song this chipper and fun and rocking and lively and generally all-round happy, and it had NOT BEEN ABOUT CHRISTMAS, everyone would be hailing it as the second coming, which, given the nature of the Nativity, is kind of ironic. Or is it sincere? HMMM? Exactly.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: December 28th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)



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