Kid Canaveral evaluate 2013's festive anthems

With their Christmas Baubles jamboree fast approaching, we ask Kid Canaveral to appraise the season’s crop of festive songs, separating the crackers from the crap...

Feature by Chris Buckle | 13 Dec 2013
Bright Eyes – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen [from A Christmas Album, Saddle Creek, Out Now]

The Skinny: This is from their 2002 Christmas album, which has just been re-released on vinyl.

David: It’s a bit… dull.

Rose: But I don’t think that’s their fault – I think this is one of the more boring Christmas traditionals…

 D: Aye it’s their fault – no one forced them to record it!

Scott: I’d give this 6.

D: SIX?!? I’d say that’s very generous…

R: It’s fine. If I had a trendy shop I’d play it.

D: It’s the musical equivalent of having an uncomfortable chat with a distant relative on Christmas Day – unwelcome and boring.

Kate: We’re setting the bar really low. Let’s go 5.

Future of the Left – The Real Meaning of Christmas [from How to Stop Your Brain in an Accident, Prescriptions, Out Now]

D: It’s certainly more exciting than Bright Eyes. They have some amazing lyrics normally – I liked that one 'where were you when Russell Brand discovered fire?' This one could do with some sleigh bells though.

R: Yeah, sleigh bells would really make this…

K: Still, we should go high – 8.

Olaf the Singing Snowman – In Summer [from Disney’s Frozen, in cinemas 6 Dec]

D, watching the accompanying video and looking displeased: Is he drinking whisky? And why’s he not melting?

R: He doesn’t know about melting! He’s never known anything but the cold, and this is his summer fantasy! I imagine there’s a tragic twist…

D: This is making me want to throw up.

R: It’s making me want to cry!

D: It’s fucking horrendous.

R: It’s not – if you were seven years old…

D: If I was 7 I’d still know that snowmen melt!

R: 9?

D: If you give that a 9 I quit the band.

K: I don’t think that can have more than 2 or 3.

R: 5! In my shop I’d have that and Bright Eyes, on a loop. It’s a strange shop.

Erasure – Make it Wonderful [from Snow Globe, Mute, Out Now]

R: There are some big expectations here.

D: Just waiting for a big chorus…

Chorus comes and goes.

R: Well it’s not really reaching lofty heights is it?

D: I really like Erasure, and I think that’s making me sympathetic towards this.

R: I don’t hate it. It might be a grower.

D: They’re just damned by their own back catalogue. Erasure would get a 10, but this… 6.

Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals [from Bitter Rivals, Lucky Number, Out Now]

D: That sounded like Limp Bizkit for a while…

R, singing: 'You’re my butterfly, sugar baby.' Sorry, that’s really harsh – no one wants to be compared to Crazy Town…

S: I think that should get 3.

The Skinny: That puts it level with Olaf the Singing Snowman…

R: I preferred Olaf. That had charm.

S: What happened to us being nice?

Leona Lewis – One More Sleep [Syco Music, out now]

R: Oh good, the most boring woman in pop…

D: 'Five more nights sleeping on my own' – is she going to shag Santa?

K: I think this is alright. It has the catchiest chorus so far.

R: But it’s really boring. It’s more clichéd than the Disney song.

D: It makes me think I should be panicking in a supermarket.

K: I think this might be a 5 as well. We have to give it some points for being so Christmassy…

R: It’s so cliched though! Plagiarism should not be rewarded!

D: We’ll say 4.

Eminem feat. Nate Ruess – Headlights [from The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Aftermath/Shady/Interscope, Out Now]

R: Is that Dido singing?

D: I think it’s Dr Dre…

S, noticing how much of the song has passed: Hold on where’s Eminem?

Marshall starts rapping; the band start sniggering.

K: Can we give this 1?

D: No! He loves his mother, you can’t give him 1!

S: I think I’ve heard enough.

R: It sounds like an album track.

D: An East 17 album track…

R: 'Cleaning out my closet' – ah, a reference to another Eminem song. Either that or it’s something he does often.

K: Maybe he does it at Christmas?

Run the Jewels – A Christmas Fucking Miracle [from Run the Jewels, Fool’s Gold, Out Now]

R: Well there’s some jingle bells…

D: 'Doesn’t get his portion' – that can be a problem at tables of large families.

S: It’s definitely better than Eminem anyway…

K: It is better than Eminem, though I think it lulled us into a false security, because it started so Christmassy.

R: I think there should be more songs that mix swearing and jingle bells.

The Skinny: Is hip-hop something you would usually listen to?

D: All the hip-hop albums I’ve got are older ones like Jurassic 5 and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, so I wouldn’t say I was in touch! Shall we give that 6?

R: I think higher.

D: OK, 7. It had sleigh bells and lots of words. And he was on about Christmas dinner, and that’s tough.

Kurt Vile – Snowflakes are Dancing [from Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze, Matador, Out Now]

D: I like this – it’s soothing. It’s the kind of thing I can imagine lying in the Meadows listening to, trying to block out a djembe player.

R: Yeah this is good. I’d like to listen to the album.

K: What’s our highest score so far? 8? Then let’s give that 9.

D: Now there’s only one place left to go…

AC/DC – Highway to Hell [from Highway to Hell, Sony Music CMG, Out Now]

Playing with decorations, pulling crackers and examining the (rather rubbish) gifts inside...

R: A set square!

D: I’ve got a wee thimble!

K: I’ve got two jokes here. Let’s see… ‘What’s the smelliest animal on the farm?’ This is terrible…

R: Well objectively speaking I’d probably say the cows.

K: The toilet duck!

D: You don’t get ducks on farms! Maybe in idyllic fucking brochures…

K: ‘Why did the onion cry?’

D: Because he was struggling with being a sentient vegetable?

K: 'Because he accidentally cut himself.'

The Skinny, steering conversation back to task at hand: So, any thoughts on the campaign to have AC/DC as Christmas number one?

R: I think those contrarians are trying to steal Christmas out of the mouths of…

D: Jesus?

R: …charity, and they’re missing the point, which is we should be funnelling money into Simon Cowell’s pocket.

D: Maybe he’ll release our next album?

R: Oh, please let us sign to SyCo!

D: You’re only saying that so you can hang out with SuBo.

K: Just give that 8.

The Skinny: Speaking of SuBo…

Susan Boyle and Elvis Presley – O Come All Ye Faithful [Syco, 9 Dec]

K: It’s not a duet with dead Elvis is it? Oh my god it is…

Elvis pipes up.

D: Oh Jesus Christ.

K: I think this might have to get zero. There’s no reason to do a duet with dead Elvis.

R: SuBo can do what she likes!

D: For the record, we love SuBo but dead Elvis can go fuck himself.

K: Definitely zero. I think any duet with a dead person is out.

R: I think it’s realising the dream of life after death, which is what we’re supposed to think about at Christmas…

The Skinny: I’d say that’s more of an Easter theme…

R: In that case it should be Easter number one.                        

D: Can you make sure it’s clear that we love SuBo? Unfortunately dead Elvis has dragged her down…

TRACK OF THE MONTH: Bad Religion – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (from Christmas Songs, Epitaph, Out now]

R: Now this is a Christmas cover.

D: I could imagine falling off a table to this.

K: I’d definitely play this album at Christmas. I think it’s really fun.

R: Do you think McBusted will do a Christmas album?

D: I don’t want to talk about that…

K: I think that one has to get 10.

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles IV featuring Edwyn Collins, Siobhan Wilson, The Pictish Trail, De Rosa and This Many Boyfriends takes place at Portobello Town Hall on 14 Dec. Kid Canaveral also play Christmas Songwriters' Club at The Queen's Hall on 22 Dec.