It’s a debate as old as Christmas itself: what is the best Christmas song?
Well, probably not quite as old as Christmas as you can’t write a song, let alone record it, about an event which hasn’t happened yet (particularly when recording technology won’t be invented for another couple of millennia). But we reckon as soon as there were a couple of carols smashed out in the 1600s people were arguing about which was the biggest tune: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman (banger) or O Come All Ye Faithful (even bigger banger).
And the debate has continued into the modern era with constant fights over which is the best Christmas song. But which is the happiest Christmas song?
Well, musicologist Joe Bennett has sought to find out the answer, studying 200 of the best-selling songs, including 78 Christmas songs to find out what musical and lyrical components they had in common.
Some findings: lyrical references to partying, snow, home, peace, love, Santa and - surprise - Christmas. Also, sleigh bells in the chorus, major key and an average tempo of 115bpm (for reference, a standard house track these days is 128bpm, so a bit slower than this).
Putting this all together, he decided to try and make the happiest Christmas song he could, enlisting songwriters Harriet Green and Steve Anderson. The result is ‘Love’s Not Just for Christmas’, below, performed by the London Community Gospel Choir, which features the word ‘Christmas’ no fewer than 21 times.
Steve Anderson said: “Over the years I have been lucky to enough to have written and produced Christmas tracks and albums for a number of artists including Kylie, Susan Boyle and Harriet, who co wrote this song with me. Hopefully we’ve risen to the challenge and provided a song people will love not only this Christmas, but for every Christmas to come.”
So is it any good?
Well, actually, considering it’s basically part of a PR stunt for intu shopping centres (where it will be performed), yes it’s actually a really good Christmas tune. It’s highly influenced by Mariah’s everlasting classic ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’, the chorus is genuinely great and there’s a cracking key change in there.
However, is it as good as a 25-minute long version of ‘Last Christmas’?
No, of course it is not.
Good try, though.