Top Of The World

The Christmas edition of the NME used to be a big thing. Now the NME is given away for free by the doors in Top Shop but it was always a big deal back in the day. Double sized (88 pages!), albums and tracks of the year, alternative rock stars and indie bands in fancy dress, Shaun and Bez pissed and stoned… enough to keep you going through the long hours when there’s nothing to do at a family Christmas.

In 1989 The Stone Roses were the NME’s band of the year and it flew them out to Switzerland for photographs on top of a mountain. That year they had done a nationwide tour picking up converts on a daily basis, put out their debut album plus 3 singles, and played two era-defining gigs (at Blackpool in August and Ally Pally in November, plus Top Of The Pops). The two album based singles had B-sides that were as good as most of the album tracks (Made Of Stone in March had Going Down, She Bangs The Drum in July had Standing Here and Mersey Paradise). In November they put out the double A-side of Fool’s Gold and What The World Is Waiting For, a game changer if ever there was one. They would never be that good again and in some ways 1990 would do for them- they stalled and lost the lightness of touch and sureness that in 1989 had put them on top of the world.

This Is The One

A year later NME’s writers crowned Happy Mondays as the band that made 1990 tick. In the summer Step On made them pop stars. In November they put out Kinky Afro, produced by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne, a move that found them with a sound perfectly suited for the times and with a lyric that is unmatched. The extended Euromix (by Oakenfold and Osborne) made its way onto various releases (the USA and Australia both got the Euromix). My mp3 version is from The Factory Tape that came with Select magazine in 1991.

Kinky Afro (Euromix)

I’ve not posted Low’s Just Like Christmas yet this year, something I have done most Decembers at Bagging Area. It is a delight, from the rattling drums and sleigh bells to the sweetly sung words describing the band travelling from Stockholm to Oslo in the snow while on tour.

Just Like Christmas

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas, whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re doing it. See you in a few days for the post-Christmas lull.

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We Felt So Young

I’ve posted this song almost every Christmas since the blog began and its definitely worth another go. Low’s Just Like Christmas with sleigh bells on and everything. It’s pretty much perfect, especially because of the pay off in the lyric…

‘But you were wrong
It wasn’t like Christmas at all’

Just Like Christmas

On Our Way From Stockholm It Started To Snow

We’re getting our tree today so it seems like a good time to post a Christmas song, no matter how much I try to avoid it. Low’s Just Like Christmas a a cracking little tune- sleigh bells disguising the fact that by the time they got to Oslo the snow had gone and it wasn’t like Christmas at all.

Just Like Christmas

Christmas Post

Time for a Christmas post- aside from the obvious (The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl) Christmas songs are in limited supply at Bagging Area. This one by Low is a perennial favourite though and the funny thing about it is, it’s not really about Christmas, it’s just that driving to Oslo it started to snow and it was just like Christmas. It wasn’t really Christmas at all.

Just Like Christmas

Advent Post Number Four

Now this is a proper Christmas cracker and no mistake- Low’s Just Like Christmas. I posted it last year but make no apologies for putting it up again.

‘On our way from Stockholm
It started to snow
And you said it was just like Christmas
But you were wrong
It wasn’t like Christmas at all

By the time we got to Oslo
The snow was gone
And we got lost
The beds were small
But we felt so young
It was just like Christmas’

Just Like Christmas

No Hope, No Harm

I said a few weeks ago that there aren’t many cover versions of Smiths songs that are any good, or at least that Smiths covers can’t usually get near the originals. Here’s an exception. Minnesota’s slowcore trio Low with a 50s tinged, drama filled cover of Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me. Desolate yet warming.

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

On The Way To Oslo It Started To Snow

 

A perfectly formed little Christmas themed song from Low.

 

Just Like Christmas