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gal-dem’s favourite festive bangers

18 Dec 2019

The holidays are here, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) post-election blues, it’s time to luxuriate in festive bangers. 

Some of the team offered their thoughts on the best songs for the season and, be warned, there are some controversial takes below – and, for the sake of posterity, the gal-dem music editor would like to stress the majority of the team does not endorse certain blasphemous opinions regarding ‘All I Want For Christmas’…

Shanice, Social Media Manager – ‘Silent Night’ – Boyz II Men

I think it’s only right that a list of Christmas songs include an actual Christmas carol, and what better than a song so angelic it’s practically a lullaby? From Frank Sinatra to Sinead O’Connor, literally everyone has covered this song, but none as well as the legendary R&B group Boyz II Men (yes, that includes the Destiny’s Child version). I first heard their rendition in the iconic Christmas episode of The Fresh Prince, which saw Will running around Bel Air, desperately trying to secure Boyz II Men for his baby cousin’s christening after he lied and promised they would perform. After all of the expected hilarity and hijinx the Fresh Prince usually provides, the episode culminates in a beautiful and touching scene where the family is gathered round, underscored by Boyz II Men’s perfect acapella rendition of Silent Night. The song triggers memories of several things I love: 90s nostalgia, insane harmonies and the third greatest thing about the Christmas holidays after indulging on great and spending time with family, which is Christmas TV specials, obviously.

Rosel, Intern – ‘Santa Baby’ – Eartha Kitt 

Someone pointed out to me that there’s something inherently saucy about this song. It may just be the associated meme, Eartha’s isolated vocals or the slightly suggestive lyrics that make this Christmas song the best soundtrack to festive cheer. Eartha’s legacy as a self-care queen reminds me that the holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with people share in your love for yourself – whether that be friends or family, chosen or otherwise. ‘Santa Baby’ gets me in the mood to set boundaries, put on my most glamorous pyjamas, faux furs and false eyelashes. Indulgent, embodied and in love with self is truly the Christmas spirit I want to bring this season and moving forward. 

Leah, Politics Editor – ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ – Slade

From producing fascist MPs to being named one of the worst cities in the UK, Wolverhampton gets a bad rap. One thing this vibrant West Midlands destination can be proud of is its unparallelled festive banger: the 1973 number one hit ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’. Legend goes that Slade’s lead singer Noddy Holder came up with the song after returning to his mum’s house in Walsall after a boozy night out, and wrote through the night to finish it. The song was written in a time of (not unfamiliar) economic downturn thanks to a Conservative government, and was released in the wake of widespread industrial strikes. In an interview, Noddy said: “I think people wanted something to cheer them up – and so did I.” This song reminds me of school Christmas parties, complete with bowls of hula hoops and wearing sparkly tights that needed hoisting up every three minutes. The perfect trip down memory lane.

Charlie, Head of Editorial – ‘All I Want for Christmas’ – The Olivia Olson Version

Mariah Carey who? Let’s reminisce upon a young god. Olivia Olson is the best character in the watchable, problematic trash-fire that is Love Actually, if only for that moment when you realise that SHE DOESN’T WANT HIM FOR CHRISTMAS, SHE WANTS YOU AND YOU AND YOU. And I honestly don’t care what you think about that statement. She has the voice of an angel and her character’s mum’s backing vocals are lit. I was very excited to learn she would be appearing on this year’s The X Factor: Celebrity and gutted when she was unceremoniously booted from the show by snake in the grass Simon Cowell who honestly needs to take his surgeried face off to Lapland and leave our TV industry alone. 

Tara, Music Editor – ‘8 days of Christmas’ – Destiny’s Child

2001 really was a different time, and this track from my faves had us all asking important questions such as: who would possibly want a dusty partridge in a pear tree when Bey’s talking about a pair of Chloé shades and a diamond belly ring? We were all kids, we all stanned rampant consumerism, and this track remains a joyous ode to that time – it is even brazen enough to have literal Destiny’s Child dolls for sale in the video, as the gals fill up their shopping carts. Life was simpler then, and this takes me back to a time of yearning for Barbie dolls, fantasising about being mates with Kelly and getting fur-lined flares like Michelle.  

Niellah, Lifestyle editor – ‘December’ – Earth Wind And Fire  

I discovered this song last Christmas, and to be fair it was only released in 2014 – but this track is lyrical genius. As a September baby, Earth Wind And Fire’s hit feel-good song has always been a favourite of mine. So imagine my shock when I found out they had released ‘December’, and you’ve guessed it, they replace the lyrics of ‘September’ with fittingly festive ones – the song basically writes itself. “Do you remember the 25th night of December?” Chef’s kiss. You collect them double royalties, Earth Wind And Fire!