Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Five brilliant Xmas songs you probably haven't heard...

In a December radio landscape saturated by Mariah Carey, The Pogues, Wizzard, Slade, Wham! and Shakin' Stevens, it's hard for any other acts to get a look in. 

Spare a thought for the many Christmas songs released each year that completely slip under the radar either never to be heard again or to be added to the playlists of a select few without ever receiving the universal adoration that they deserve. Here are five of my favourite lost Christmas songs:

Aisha Kinzey - Bring Back The Magic (Christmas Day)

This song was written by a friend of mine Paul Trigwell along with a group of other songwriters including talented Alex Lambie who sadly passed away recently. The song is being repromoted this year and it deserves to be heard by a wider audience. Aisha Kinzey is a great singer while the production is pure Christmas through and through, it's instantly catchy and even fits in a key change!

Fallen Millie - Want To Be (Under Your Christmas Tree)

I stumbled across this song a couple of weeks before Christmas 2010 and played the hell out of it right up to the big day. I've come back to it every year since - a string laden pure pop song with Christmas bells, heart-warming strings and fantastic harmonies from a young girlband that I know literally nothing about. They don't seem to have released any other singles and the song hasn't even cracked 2,500 views on Youtube. The only time I've heard it outside my iPod was in a shoe shop randomly last year. The campaign to make this a future classic starts here! 

The Florin Street Band - My Favourite Time Of Year

This song has over 2 million views on Youtube and is apparently the theme to ITV's Text Santa. All this has completely bypassed me because anyone I talk to about the song never seems to have heard it before. The Florin Street Band are a charming act promoting the more traditional Christmas messages and imagery in this video and the magic of the song speaks for itself. I'm incredibly confused as to why this isn't a Christmas classic yet, it's melodic, timeless and fantastic.

Nádine feat Soweto Gospel Choir - Mary's Boy Child

South African singer Nádine has become one of my favourite artists over the past few years, a good old fashioned pure pop singer with an innocent charm. Her singles I Will Be Strong and Juvenile are my favourites of hers but in 2012 she released an album of Christmas covers (and a couple of originals) called, cunningly, Christmas In South Africa. The whole album was fantastic but my two highlights were her cover of We Wish You A Merry Christmas and the above version of Mary's Boy Child with the Soweto Gospel Choir, which is incredibly joyous and merry. Sadly there's only a live version on Youtube but check it out on the album which is on Spotify/Deezer/iTunes.

Sara Bareilles - Love Is Christmas

Californian singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles is of course best known for her 2008 hit Love Song, but she's continued to impress since then. In 2011 she released this festive offering, an incredibly beautiful and warm piano ballad with a subtle string section enhancing the festive sentiment of love and togetherness being more important at Christmas than gifts and decorations. Also listen to Sara's other seasonal offering Winter Song, a collaboration with Ingrid Michaelson which inexplicably got to No.2 in the Irish charts a few years ago.

Also check out:

A cheesy but charming, fun hi-NRG cover of the festive standard from everyone's favourite German Eurodance act, from their 2012 album It's Christmas Time.

A relaxing Christmas by the beach, courtesy of the Californian singer.

A stellar festive offering from the Dutch country act that finished 2nd in Eurovision this year.

A gorgeous cover of the John Lennon classic from Australia's finest soapstar turned popstar. It was the b-side to Not Me, Not I in the UK in 2003 and the double a-side to Predictable in Australia, so technically a No.1 single there.

A Christmas schlager ballad from Sweden's finest modern dansband.

An alternative choice; an atmospheric gloomy electronic track from Theo and Adam.

An emotive piano ballad from the Norwegian singer - already a Christmas standard in her home country, and deservedly so.

A brilliant gothic metal reworking of the 80s UK classic from animated adventure The Snowman.

Pet Shop Boys - It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas

An excellent 1997 fan club single overhauled and given a new lease of life as part of the duo's 2009 Christmas EP.

An early 90s gem from Croydon's finest indie-pop band. 

A melancholy strummer from Sweden's finest pop-folk girlband.

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