20 December 2005

saint etienne - "i was born on christmas day"
(from the too young to die lp, which you apparently can't buy new anywhere.)

elton john - "step into christmas" (from the caribou lp, available for purchase here.)

"i was born on christmas day" is as much about christmas as ... well, as any other song i've posted so far. it gets the externals so right, though; it's a big city christmas; it's music to negotiate large crowds by, which is never so needed as in new york right now. but, really, it's an english thing, the guitar solo the best homage to "boredom" i've ever heard. taken as a whole, it's as if the trafalgar square tree exploded, lighting up the sky over the thames and ringing all the bells in town.

having heard the wedding present's cover of "step into christmas," i know for a fact that the appeal of this song has little to do w/ the song itself and everything to do w/ the production. (how many abba tricks did elton and gus dudgeon borrow here? or, given that this record was released in 1973, was the influence in reverse? and why didn't abba release a christmas record? never was a band in the history of music more qualified for it.) in contrast to "born," "step" is more like the christmas in one's home, acoustic guitars strumming to the beat of one wrapping presents, piano runs lining the track like strings of light.

1 comment:

g58 said...

I Was Born On Christmas Day can also be found in - besides my soul - an American package of Tiger Bay from 94. No doubt that will be hard to find too but so worth it. The album catches the band in a disco-spun avant garde phase (Xmas Day an added track that is not exactly indicative of the sound). In any case, not all is lost. Their latest release is out stateside in February and it is a bit of a revisit to the period with tracks like "Last Orders for Gary Stead" and "Slow Down at the Castle". Check it out.