Monday, September 27

Mariah Carey vs. Wham! – Who should finally get their holiday # 1? | George Michael

Song history

All I want for Christmas is you

Mariah Carey’s 1994 hit sounds like she’s been blessed with the twinkling stardust that seems to fall into her opening notes – after decorating her home with Christmas decorations in the height of summer, it was written in just 15 minutes. That’s maybe a bit of myth-making: co-writer Walter Afanasieff has said that the central melody and chords took an hour, and they actually continued to play with it for a couple of weeks before recording it, but just like Dad Noel, it’s something you want to believe in.

Afanasieff was playing a boogie-woogie piano line with one hand, and Mariah began singing on top. He was initially horrified, thinking that his rising and falling melody sounded like scales you’d give a vocalist to practice with, but his vision coalesced: a 1960s-style song made for the elegant 1990s. It was not eligible as a single. in the US at launch, but after several rule changes and the arrival of the broadcast, it finally hit No. 1 last year, making it the slowest ride to the top. Can you repeat the trick this year in the UK? Ben Beaumont-Thomas

Last Christmas

Sure, Shakespeare wrote Quarantined King Lear, but George Michael wrote Last Christmas in the time it took Andrew Ridgeley to watch an episode of Match of the Day. It’s a convenient masterpiece, although George played each note painstakingly once it reached Advision Studios, much to the annoyance of engineer Chris Porter. He was the complete opposite of Band Aid’s bloated and meaty recording session, George’s estimable bouffant among the hairspray crowd, and his meticulousness couldn’t compete with the bumbling beast of Bob Geldof’s charity celebrity, who claimed ranked number one at Christmas 1984.

However, unlike Do They Know It’s Christmas, Last Christmas’s reputation is impeccable – not just a festive classic, but a watermark of British synthpop music from the mid-’80s, before sophisticated technology killed off. a little sincerity. George died on Christmas Day 2016, sparking a concerted effort to bring Last Christmas to No. 1 the following year, a battle he lost to Ed Sheeran. Now is the chance to correct your latest festive indignity. Laura snapes

Narrative force

All I want for Christmas is you

Mariah rejects all Christmas decorations (stockings, toys) in favor of just one gift: you. It sounds a bit like a kill or glory tactic taken by a hapless girlfriend who forgot to buy her partner something. Also, as Chris Scott noted in a tweet that went viral: “Mariah Carey starts off with ‘I don’t want much for Christmas’ and then reveals that she loves ‘you’ is a good burn.” However, such a sham is not in the spirit of the season: Mariah is actually an anti-consumer ascetic (it is true that she is often dressed in shiny gold), which reminds us that the true meaning of Christmas is people. around us. BBT

Last Christmas

George did not receive the note that Christmas is a season of goodwill for all men, a time for forgiveness, etc. Last Christmas he begins hurt, as he wallows in the memory of his beloved betraying him the year before, and only hardens from there. Soon we are in “a room full of people, friends with tired eyes / I hide from you and your ice soul.” Ice soul! While his bitterness is tinged with hope, his promise of generosity to a new lover is tainted by his enduring crush on last year’s model, whom he admits he would still kiss if he had half the chance. It’s a rich text, albeit taken too literally by director Paul Feig and writer Emma Thompson in the charming 2019 trash romantic comedy Last Christmas, which involves the actual donation of a heart. But don’t blame him. LS

Karaoke Power

All I want for Christmas is you

George’s story of grief might have the upper hand in the narrative, but let’s take this fight to the karaoke booth, with a bucket of six-for-£ 10 alcopops because they’re close to their expiration date, and let the battle really go. begin. The intro is made for a serious show, the prominent backing vocals mean your friends can get involved, and the 150 bpm tempo ensures energy levels stay high. And when everyone seeks the highest grade at the end en masse, there is such a powerful kinship in everyone being so jarringly average together. BBT

Mariah Carey performing in 2016.
Mariah Carey performing in 2016. Photograph: Gregory Pace / REX / Shutterstock

Last Christmas

George’s vocal range is much more accessible than Mariah’s, at least for the average Christmas party belter, and the pain in the verses provides ample opportunity for theatrical pouting. That being said, Last Christmas is the kind of song that It seems Like a great karaoke choice, but one that you almost immediately regret – the chorus repeats itself so many times that you’re stuck in karaoke purgatory, and your friends’ appreciation for your efforts grows less convincing by the second. Scarred from once selecting Don’t You Want Me at karaoke, and his emotional confrontation ringing more stinging with each seemingly endless, I hand this over to Mariah. LS

Festive promise

All I want for Christmas It’s you

Last Christmas uses its sleigh bells sparingly, just as a cheap signifier, but once the beat kicks in, Mariah has hers ringing the entire time, like she’s a kid nailing the only job they’re assigned to. Yet there is something so deeply Christmassy about the entire endeavor: the string fanfare is as if Santa Claus strikes his whip, with the ensuing tune racing like his magical sleigh down the slopes. BBT

Last Christmas

There are three defining eras of the Christmas single: Spector, Glam, and Synthpop. Mariah just renew the first one. George practically invented the latter (via the Roland Juno-60), and its wrinkled strings became synonymous with a season of clever artifice and glued glitz. He is not only original, but cunning: he understands how the joy of Christmas with a grin face magnifies loneliness and increases his pain to 11. It is bitter but hopeful: there is always the next year. LS

The Last Christmas artwork.

2020 renewed resonance

All that I want for christmas it’s you

For anyone who has to isolate himself, the intensity of the title may be too bitter for the stomach, but for those of us who slip in and out of the government-mandated window of time to spend with their families, all I want for Christmas is you. it will be powerfully uplifting. After a year of frequent separation, few minds will be on the gifts; all we want now is the “you” we haven’t been able to see, and the facelessness of the person Carey yearns for means she can represent anyone. That universal sentiment across the country is why it deserves to be number one in this year of all years. BBT

Last Christmas

George’s death on Christmas Day 2016 turned a festive staple into a memorial to one of Britain’s biggest pop stars. His passing also prompted the revelation that throughout his career he had been a staunch and silent supporter of the NHS, cancer and AIDS charities, homeless shelters, Childline, and the individual causes that touched him: a legacy of generosity and feeling for others that has resonated. on the strength of mutual aid this year, and one that the government could pay attention to. Plus, this Christmas could be a lonely cancellation for many squires, making the promise of spending time with someone special next year especially potent. LS

• Who would you like to come first? Make your case in the comments below.

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