Sammy the Seal

“You’ll never fool me again”

In vinyl, You're a kitty! on Saturday, 17 December, 2011 at 22:47


Song: Last Christmas (cover)
Artist: Sarge
Album: Distant

kitty under the tree

Of what covers I have heard of this song, I am most impressed with this interpolation, not just because I like the band, but because it takes something of such concentrated schmaltz (the Wham! original) and charges it with something resembling sincere emotion. Most Christmas music is predicated on calculated warm fuzziness, so the original is hardly a crime, and the 80s sound is forgivable, as it’s merely a product of its time. It’s still pablum, though. And hell, I’ve heard a couple of rock covers that still sound toothless, so it’s not necessarily the rock approach.

Rather, it’s the execution of said approach. Working against the simplistic lyrical conceits of the song, the fuzz of the guitar (most notable on the chorus), bass (Ms. Elmore’s doing, if I’m not mistaken), and drums take a straight-ahead, no-frills approach which lends a real degree of gravity. To an extent, it kinda “rocks”, even. Despite Elizabeth Elmore’s innocent vocal style, she is able to project an understated, conversational tone. (High, loud, earnest, “pretty” emotion, I don’t care how popular music trends.) This sounds like a regular song, with an incidental holiday theme. I never completely buy in– it is “Last Christmas”, for Frith’s sake– but it manages to be affecting, rather than eye-roll-inducing. I say take heart from modest surprises.

I’ll put the original song up, but not the official video. I draw the line there:

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